TRAVELLING TO SPAIN
I decided to go to Spain as I thought it would be a great way of improving my Spanish as well as experiencing a new culture. However as the day of departure neared, I found myself becoming more and more nervous. Myself and my friend Lucy who was also going to study in Spain traveled to Seville together. We spent the whole flight studying Spanish, going over verbs and grammar, learning new vocabulary, it felt like cramming for a test!
When I arrived at Seville airport my family were holding a sign with my name on it. They greeted me with a friendly smile and really helped me to feel comfortable. I have to admit, being submerged into the Spanish language, lifestyle, and culture straight away did come as a bit of a shock to the system, but my lovely host family made me feel so at home. After arriving at the house, I unpacked my things and had my first meal with the family. The food in Spain is definitely very different than the food in Ireland, however, I have discovered many foods that I really love. My favorite being Spanish tortilla!
BECOMING A SPANISH STUDENT
Two days after I arrived, I had my first day of school. We first met with our Spanish coordinator Belen, she helped to calm our nerves before being introduced to the class. My Spanish sister Claudia was in my class which was really big help. She showed me around, introduced me to the teachers and I met all her friends. Everyone was really friendly and interested in us, the first week flew by! When Friday came Lucy and I went to the center with our new Spanish friends for tapas! This was a new experience for us and one that we really enjoyed. We tried multiple Spanish foods and spent time chatting with Spanish girls.
The weather was lovely and so on the weekends, we got to roam around and explore Seville in the beautiful sunshine. The city was gorgeous and we took a particular shine to The Maria Luisa Park, where The Plaza De Espana is situated.
We cycled through the park and went on boats in the Plaza De Espana! My Spanish family also showed me around the city and one night we even ate roasted chestnuts! Something very typical in Seville at this time of year.
Lucy’s Spanish parents brought both of us to their daughters’ baptism, which was a very interesting experience for us. Although the ceremony was difficult for us to understand, we got to see what a baptism is like in another country. After, we went to a restaurant to celebrate, where we got to meet and chat with new people and try new foods. It was a great day and we got to soak up some more of the culture.
Halfway through our trip Lucy and I started helping an English teacher with the three, four and five-year-olds. This was an amazing thing to be able to do as we got to experience teaching English through a foreign language.
Every day I found my Spanish improving and I was always picking up new words and phrases. People never minded when I made mistakes and there was always someone keen to help me improve.
I had an amazing time in Spain. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to learn the language. Of course, some days are better than others and a bit of homesickness is inevitable but from personal experience, I can honestly say that you get out of it what you put into it.
A positive attitude makes all the difference and if you go into it with an open mind I can almost guarantee that you’ll have an amazing time. It has been a fantastic experience and I will always remember my time in Spain!