TravelHER: First Impressions of Spain

Only 3 days have passed since beginning my study abroad journey. Culture shock is an understatement when arriving to your new country. As a Spanish minor, I chose a Spanish speaking country to perfect my Spanish speaking skills. My greatest challenge since arriving is the language barrier. My house mom only speaks Spanish. The first day was so challenging because I wasn't confident in my Spanish skills— but the more she speaks, the more I’m comfortable speaking. 

Another challenge is fighting homesickness. My first night here was worst than the first night I spent in a dorm on Hampton's campus. I could only imagine how international students feels. I consider myself an independent person, but it’s the fear of the unknown that rattles my soul. I tossed and turned all night. I just couldn't get comfortable, despite my excitement to leave and venture out. So far I haven't had one full night’s rest. Plus, jet lag did not help the situation. 

Overall everyday is an adventure. Trying new tapas, which is a common Spanish style meal served on small plates, has been exciting. Sangria has been a staple to compliment my meals —and all those cliches about an open mind and patience have been the simplest reminders to stay present. Adjusting to a new country is the most exciting, anxious-filled transition, but being present and mindful lowers that anxiety.  

 

Hearing those cliches, at first seems somewhat basic to hear initially, but study abroad is that simple. Staying open to new ideas and breaking what is normal to your routine is what the experience is about.