Hi! My name is Ruth Hennigan and I’m in transition year in Mount Anville.
I had been thinking about going to Spain throughout the whole of fourth year to improve my Spanish and March was the perfect time for me. I left for Valencia on the 25th of February and arrived to my host family late on Sunday night. Nearly everybody in Spain lives in apartments which was a change from my home back in Ireland. My host family were lovely and the apartment was really beautiful, well kept and clean.
SETTLING IN AND IMPROVING
I have to admit that the sudden change from English to Spanish came as quite a big shock to me. Although I didn’t consider myself to be bad at Spanish in school, I really couldn’t understand anything. I think this was probably the most daunting moment of my trip. However I got such a lovely family who were really excited to have me and really patient with me at the beginning. I also immediately clicked with Maria, the 15 year old girl in my family, which was such a relief.
School really helped me to improve my Spanish. Everyone was really friendly and so interested in me and everyone made such an effort to talk to me. Through conversations with the teachers and students I began to understand and started to talk back. Even by the end of the first day I’d found that my feelings of shock were gone and I was now beginning to see an improvement in my Spanish.
My time in Spain only got better from then on. There are so many stunning parks in Valencia including jardín de polifilo which is right beside the apartment. Maria and her family encouraged me to also try numerous traditional Spanish foods such as churros, paella, jamón serrano and much more. Unfortunately I really didn’t like churros but I loved paella which the family have every Sunday. Traditional Valencian paella contains chicken, rabbit, green beans, garrofon beans and snails. My family also brought me into the Central market here in Valencia which I would definitely recommend visiting. It has a huge number of stands containing fruit, meat, fish and baked goods.
I chose to go to Valencia for its coastal location, direct flight access and large city. Little did I know how much more this city had to offer. Maria and I did so many exciting things throughout my first two weeks. I went to the city on Friday where I went shopping in Brandy Melville, Oysho and Kiko. This was certainly not good for my monthly spending plan. We then visited the cathedral in Valencia city. All of this was only in the first week and a half! I still had so many more exciting things to look forward to like Fallas and visiting other site seeing spots.
I really couldn’t think of a better way to learn Spanish!