I’ve been in Spain for a little over a week in a half, and I can honestly say, I am having one of the best experiences of my life! As soon as I stepped off the plane, the shock of being in another country hit me. Everyone was speaking Spanish, and all of the signs were in Spanish as well. At first I felt a little overwhelmed because I had not taken a Spanish class since my junior year in high school (I am a junior in college), but as the days progressed, my Spanish improved immensely, and now I am able to hold short conversations with my host family and locals.
After leaving the airport, we arrived at our hotel in Madrid. Madrid is a beautiful city! One of the first things I did was go with a group of friends to a tapas restaurant to have lunch. Tapas are a a wide variety of appetizers and are traditional Spanish food. They are very inexpensive and very tasty as well. Eating tapas with the group was also a great way to meet the students that I will be spending the next three months with.
One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed about the Spanish culture so far is the eating schedule. In America, breakfast is around 7:00am, lunch is around noon and dinner is around 8:00pm. In Spain, it is much different. Breakfast still is around 7:00am, but lunch usually begins around 2:30pm. Dinner does not begin until 10:00pm! Trying to adjust to this new eating schedule has been a little difficult. There have been a couple of nights where I’ve longed to go to a fast food restaurant for a quick burger, but I’ve resisted because I’m want to fully immerse myself in the Spanish culture.
One of the best experiences I’ve had so far was seeing a bullfight, while in Sevilla. I’ve never seen a bull fight before and I was very interested in seeing what happens at bullfights. As we entered the bull fighting arena, it felt like we were entering a college football game. The stadium was full of people, excited to see the bullfight. I thought the bull fight was very interesting. Although the bulls died, one bull did not go down without a fight. He was strong enough to knock over a horse and the man riding the horse. The man fell, and the horse fell on top of him. I personally thought the man was either seriously injured or dead. Five men picked him up and rushed him out of the arena so the bull would not come back to gore him. Thankfully, fifteen minutes later, he walked out and waved to the crowd, indicating that he was alright.
Although I have only been here a week, I am already having a blast. I cannot wait to start my classes and experience life as an international student.