As our trip comes to a close, we have mixed emotions about leaving Spain. Like anything in life, it’s not as if everything was perfect or easy, but as a whole we tremendously enjoyed our time. Reflecting on our experiences, we respond to the question of what we will remember most about our time in the wonderful country.
Having never left the U.S., going to Spain was quite an intense experience for me. At first, I struggled quite a bit with the food, the schedules, and just the difficulty of not being familiar with the language. Eventually, however, after settling in a bit, I had some pretty unreal experiences. I will remember most the people we connected with after we arrived, whether it was our families, other international students who were also studying alongside us (S/O to Izzy Hope, Grayson Castell, Alexey Sarapultsev, and Hans), our trusty steeds, or our awesome professors at Mester.
I will forever remember the amazing food that is almost always made completely by hand, is simple, but always incredibly delicious. There is no doubt that when I begin to cook for myself I will cook just like my host mother did for me here! The night life here will always stick in my mind too because no where in the United States does anyone party as hard as the Spaniards do.
I was nervous and anxious to come to Spain because it was my first time being outside the country. I didn't know very much about Spain other than the pictures my brother took while walking part of El Camino. The first week went by really slow since I was outside of my comfort zone. I will remember how much has changed since that first week. For example, I have made many new great friends, some being from other countries. Also, I can speak with my parents now with little difficulty and it feels like I have known them for years, not three weeks. Overall, I am comfortable being here in Spain and I have truly enjoyed this experience.
As I find myself back in the United States now, I think I will miss the way that the people there looked at time. Nobody was constantly looking at their watch as time passed by or rushing to get somewhere. The streets of Salamanca were lively and full of people taking strolls along the cobbled streets with their loved ones and friends, with no worries about time and just living in the moment. That is definitely something I will miss seeing as I come back home to the busy lives of Chicago people hurrying off to work and constantly worrying about being late. Thanks Spain for teaching me how to live in the moment and to take everything in one step at a time.
What will I remember most about Spain? Honestly, it's the heartbeat of the country. The bustling of people in the night, the beautiful cathedrals and Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, the amazing terrain outside the cities with the mountains and waterfalls, horseback riding in a land unknown to me, and so much more. I had a beautiful time here.
More than anything, I will remember the people in Spain. Not just the friends I traveled with, but also my host family, my professors, and even the people I saw walking in the street every day. There was something about walking around Salamanca and seeing so many people eating, shopping, and enjoying themselves that truly brought the city to life for me.
The trip to Spain was far more enjoyable than I expected. Our group was amazing and we definitely bonded a ton during our three weeks. This was probably the best three weeks of my life; I tried so many new things, met great people, and learned a lot about the Spanish culture. I wish we had another three weeks!
Before coming to Spain, someone asked me why I chose Salamanca for my Spanish immersion experience. "Of all the Spanish-speaking countries to choose from, you chose the most boring place to go." After learning about the rich history, sampling the unique cuisine, and meeting countless hospitable people, I have to say that Spain is FAR from boring. I have fallen in love with the elegant stone-made buildings, and I will never grow tired of the delicious tapas. Salamanca will forever and always have a special place in my heart.
This trip has helped me become a more independent and confident traveler, which will be very useful for years to come, as I am studying abroad twice more before graduating from Luther. The new perspectives I have gained will help me continue to grow as a global citizen, and I can't wait to travel again!
Looking back on the weeks I've spent in Spain, I'll remember how comfortable I became living surrounded by a language and culture unfamiliar to my own. Leading up to the trip, I was incredibly nervous about going to Europe for the first time and living away from my family, my friends and the places that I know. After having been here for 24 days, I can say the transition into living in Salamanca was significantly smoother than I had ever anticipated.
In the end, it’s hard to say goodbye to this country we have come to love, but we realize that we have our families, friends, and responsibilities at home in the US. Some of us may one day return to Spain and see the people (Carlos Mielgo, our guide; our professors at Mester - Asun, Mariví, Sandra, Jorge, Consu, Belén and Jesús; and all of our other friends we have made – Greyson Castell, Izzy Hope, Alexey Sarapultsev, Hans and others) and the places with which we have enjoyed spending our time so much.