Post 1 España

I am now in my second week in Alicante, Spain, and have been loving every second of it! Although the initial travel was difficult, as I had to navigate multiple transportation systems to make my way to Alicante, it was well worth the trip. After orientation, I began taking classes at the CIEE Study Center, where I rotate taking three courses-grammar, culture, and conversation. To me, the conversation class is the most useful, because I am learning colloquial Spanish, and it seems like every new word I learn immediately appears around me in the streets. Although I do not plan on using many of these words (as many of them are curse words), it is important to learn the language so that I can better understand what is going on.

I have had many positive cultural and languages so far, including carrying on meaningful conversations with Spanish students that study at the University of Alicante. Their system is very different, because they take classes until May and then have a month of studying time before their finals, which can last for up to four hours each. In addition, they are very keyed into language here, and many of them can speak five or more languages in their studies. All of the students speak Spanish, Valencian, and English, and many choose to also take other languages. I really enjoyed speaking to them, especially when we conversed in Spanish and English interchangeably.

One difficulty that I have encountered is adjusting to cultural differences, as well as clear communication to my host mom. Some things are not as important in the Spanish culture, such as time, but other things are much more regulated, such as eating with family and cleanliness. I am still adjusting to the lack of personal space here and finding new ways to say that I understand or okay (here we say vale a lot), which I will continue working on.

Until next week, hasta luego!