100 Days LeftEvie P. is a junior at SYA Spain, who came from Westminster School in Connecticut. As a Campus Reporter, Evie keeps a blog to document her experiences while spending her high school year abroad in Zaragoza. Read her latest post about her experiences at SYA thus far, and her advice for prospective students who are thinking about attending SYA Spain next year.
I am in a foreign country for nine months, living with a host family, independently traveling all over Europe, and slowly becoming fluent in a different language. It’s easy to forget that I’m in Spain but when I walk down the street surrounded by Spanish and I go to dinner with my host family I’m reminded of the fact that just five months ago I took a plane from my home in Connecticut all the way across the Atlantic ocean.
Confident and comfortable in a new culture
These past few weeks, I have finally begun to feel confident in my Spanish and my history and politics presentations do not scare me as much as they once did, I feel comfortable just chatting with my host siblings, and can eavesdrop into the various conversations I hear in the Tranvia on the way to school.
A few weeks ago, I went for five days to Coslada, a suburb outside of Madrid, to stay with a different family and followed around a 16 year old Spanish girl, I went to her classes and hung out with her friends. It was such a unique experience to see the daily life of a girl my age. Also to see the differences in the education and the difference of culture. Although in Zaragoza I see the Spanish lifestyle, this was different because I was seeing and experiencing it as though I was Spanish myself.
My favorite experience here with SYA was my first independent travel to Pamplona. My two friends and I organized the entire trip from the hostel to the bus tickets. When we arrived it was freezing cold and raining, so we immediately bought gloves and umbrellas, for the rest of the trip luckily the rain cleared up but the cold stayed. Instead of planning out the whole trip down to the second, we just walked and explored the city. We found some amazing food, a few of the beautiful sites Pamplona has to offer, and made a few Spanish friends along the way. This was one incredible adventure and I know I’ll have that memory forever.
Go for it!
To any perspective student of SYA, I would say go for it. It’s an incredible experience and returning to the states in four months will definitely be bittersweet. This decision you are making right now might seem tough, as does nine months away from your home. But the thing is that you might be away from your home in America, you will make a new home here in Zaragoza. Your friends and your host family will become a second family, you’ll master the puzzle that is the small windy streets of Zaragoza and suddenly everything will be as familiar as your home town.
Recently in Valencia, it was a cool but nice day and my friends and I found a little cafe tucked away in the back streets. There were blankets draped over the chairs, and we drank some cáfe con leche while eating patatas bravas and some bread and manchego cheese. While we ate this classic Spanish food, a man played guitar and a few little kids came out to sing along and play. Often I forget how great this experience is and how lucky I am to be here, but it’s moments like this when I remember. With only four months left, I hope to be able to take as many memories like this home with me and just to keep in mind how fortunate I am for SYA and for making that decision so many months ago.