6 Nationalities on One Floor: Life in a Residence Hall

When I registered for Cursos Internacionales through the University of Salamanca, I chose to live with a host family. However, there was a mix-up with scheduling, and I was placed in a single room in a residence hall. When I heard about the change in my accommodations, I was disappointed and nervous; I worried that not living with a host family would significantly hinder my ability to improve my Spanish and that living in a single would make it harder to meet people. Thankfully, my worries were all for naught, and life in the residence hall has been my favorite part about Salamanca. With regard to language acquisition, the majority of my classmates who live with host families say that they spend a lot of time away from their homes, so most of their Spanish improvement occurs in the classroom. In reference to the facility of making friends in a dorm, living in a residence hall has helped, rather than hindered, my social life. There are 12 other students living in my hall, all of them between the ages of 18 and 22. Apart from being a group of adventurous, intelligent, outgoing, and interesting people, my friends in the hall represent a wide range of nationalities: Issy and Dan are English; Steve and Mark are Canadian; Thomas is Belgian; Caroline is Swedish; Gabrielle is French; and Claire, Emily, Lucia, Ellie, James, and I are American. Learning about the cultures of my peers over meals has been one of my favorite things to do here. I’ve learned from Daniel how important football (soccer) truly is in the UK, and I’ve learned from Caroline that flower crowns in Sweden are a Swedish tradition rather than part of the hipster movement. While learning about their cultures is super fun — over dinner tonight I learned all about the education system and culture in England from Issy and Daniel — it’s great to simply be in my friends’ company I’m not one for social media, but I may have to re-activate my Facebook to stay in touch with some of them after we leave.

Issy and Emily, out for dinner right near Plaza Mayor, Salamanca.
View from my dorm window (with a filter), Salamanca.
From left to right: James, Caroline, Daniel, Claire, and me in front of a monastery, Salamanca.
Claire, seconds before eating THE BEST SLICES OF CHEESECAKE, San Sebastián.