Admitting My Homesickness in Santander

Katrina Killian is a student at the University of Pittsburgh and an ISA Featured Blogger. Katrina is currently studying abroad in Santander, Spain on the ISA Summer 2 program.

I thought I would be able to hide  from that feeling that seems to sneak up on everyone during their time abroad. You know, homesickness. I’m not saying that I’m superwoman or anything, but I’ve been to college and traveled alone to a few places without it having much affect… I guess my marathon is nearing an end and that opponent has gotten a second wind, because I’m certainly feeling somewhat homesick now!

“ISA in Santander.” Photo by Ana Fernandez, Spring 2012.

Most people in my group had this feeling within the first week that they arrived. I guess I’m an oddball and I feel it now, but it makes sense since I’m almost home and starting to pack, so I know I’ll be there soon. It’s not so much as being homesick, but more that random things remind me of home and make me miss it a little. For example, there are dogs everywhere! I have three dogs at home, so seeing any dog makes me miss them. It doesn’t help that one of my dogs sleeps with me, so I’m already without a sleeping buddy. What confuses me though, is that I see many dogs roaming around here. I can’t tell if they are homeless or their owners watch/walk them without a leash (I’ve seen quite a few walk their dogs without a leash… I couldn’t do that with my nosy dogs!). I start worrying about those dogs, then I remember mine at home.

Of course I miss my zany family. My dad is constantly telling jokes and making people laugh, so on the rare occasions during this trip that I have felt down I’ve wanted him here to help me feel better. My mom and brother are their own special people as well, and I’ve had a few times where I’ve wanted them here or I came across something that reminded me of them.

Another thing I miss a lot is American food! Don’t get me wrong, I love the food here. Some of it is pretty tasty (hello, nata ice cream!)  but my stomach is beginning to reject having bread and a form of potatoes at every meal… which is very sad, to me at least, because I LOVE potatoes. I blame that on my Irish heritage, haha! I am also beginning to get tired of fried foods. So many foods here are cooked in oil! They even cook hotdogs and hamburgers in oil. They were surprised when I showed them how to boil a hotdog :) With all this said, don’t think I’m bashing their food. I could stay here for much longer living off their food and Doritos! Plus who can be homesick for long in such a great country?!

Luckily the ISA staff has been great. Our directors are wonderful and have helped us when any of us had that homesickness feeling creep up. They have helped with other problems too and for finding activities to do during the week. So if you ever need help, your ISA directors are there, so utilize them! They are very nice, I promise!

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