Matt Boles is a student at the University of Florida and an ISA Featured Blogger. Matt is currently studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain on an ISA Custom Program.
Hola. Sorry I have posted any new information in a while; time does fly when you’re studying abroad.
I am on the sixth week of my program, and it is totally different than what I expected. I studied abroad in Nicaragua in high school, so I thought that I had a pretty good idea on what to expect. (When I studied abroad in Nicaragua, it was not with ISA.)
I was expecting an initial “culture shock” and the pains of traveling and moving, and I was not expecting my roommate to be as nice. I hate to say it, but I’ve had some bad roommates in Gainesville, Fla., in the past.
Man was I wrong. My roommate, Jeff, and I are best friends. We eat virtually all of our meals, go to the gym, walk to class and visit the monuments of together. And I really didn’t receive that “culture shock.” I think it was because in Madrid, we were able to see museums but also rest and have some downtime.
I expected my classes to be hard, and they are. However, both of my professors are nice and I am learning a lot. Sometime my “homework” is for me to go the park and speak to a Sevillano. Even though the classes do require effort, the professors understand that we want to explore the city. Both of my courses are about the Spanish language, but I know other students are taking literature and finance courses, too. Click on the link to see a commercial I did for class:
In addition to learning Spanish, I am learning a lot about myself, too. (Yes, that does sound like something from “Hey Arnold.”) I feel like I am more mature after six weeks. Whenever I travel, everything is usually planned out for me to a “t.” I like how my program has planned excursions and free weekends where we could do what we want. For example, I spent a day kayaking in a protected park. I have also learned that I want to be fluent in Spanish. Obviously, I want to speak it, but I use to be content to just learn enough. Now, the feeling of ordering food in Spanish or bargaining in a market is great.
Something I have also learned the hard way: I over-packed. Everyone told me I would, and I did. If you do end up studying abroad, I highly recommend that you carry your luggage around your house first. If I did that, I would be OK.
Every day I wake up and think, “I still can’t believe I’m in Spain.” Without a doubt, I am one of the luckiest people alive right now.
I decided to keep a blog because I want to remember everything. The photos will help, but I want to look back on this trip in five years and know what was going through my mind.