There are so many great things about studying abroad in Salamanca, it would be impossible to name them all! But these are a few things that are making my abroad experience oh so special:
- Fresh-Squeezed OJ and Fresh Bread
- Every morning for breakfast, my host mom makes fresh-squeezed orange juice for my roommate and me for breakfast. And it is always awesome. Even when I don’t feel like eating, the orange juice always makes up for everything. Then, at lunch and dinner, we always have chunks of really fresh baguettes that complement all of the delicious soups wonderfully.
- Ice cream
- I am never wont for ice cream here and it’s is a wonderful thing. In the Plaza Mayor there is a cafe that has been there since 1905 called Cafe Novelty. Next to the main entrance there is a display of your traditional ice cream and sorbet flavors. But to the left is a display of wonderful varieties of chocolate-based flavors, such as chocolate orange, chocolate espresso, Kinder Bueno, and, my favorite, chocolate cookies.
- One of my favorite things about living in Salamanca is that I can walk to pretty much anywhere I would want to go. It’s a big contrast to my California suburban living where, if I don’t have a car, I’m pretty much stuck.
- Studying with Other International Students
- I think the coolest thing about this program is getting to know other students from around the world, especially the Europeans. Back at home I would never have had the opportunity to walk home from class speaking Spanish with an Angolan guy and a German guy, while trying to get them to teach me Portuguese and German. Nor would I have befriended a French guy who picks on me all the time but agreed to join my friend and me on an adventure to Sevilla.
- Spanish Dogs
- When I was getting ready for study abroad, I knew I was going to miss my pets, but I had no idea just how much I was going to miss my dog. Almost literally every time I see a dog here, I have a little spaz attack about how pretty the dog is and desperately want to steal it. My favorite dog that I have seen in Salamanca is the English bulldog of someone who lives in my area, who I have named Charles. Charles is such a happy looking dog (and he’s huge) that every time I see him, even when I’m in a bad mood, I feel better. And even though I usually disapprove of putting clothes on pets, it is so cold here now that the sight of nearly every dog in the city wearing a sweater is simply adorable.
And an amusing observation/cultural difference to round it out: I knew that the US was pretty much the only country that likes Peanut Butter, but I was still amused by the organizational differences in Spanish grocery stores. My roommate and I were in Carrefour, a local market, just sort of browsing for snacks, when suddenly I discovered, hidden in Nutella, a few jars of Spanish Skippy Peanut Butter (also known as Capitán Maní)! Obviously, we bought some. What amused me was that in US grocery stores, we have 100s of varieties of peanut butter and only one Nutella (the original, Ferrero brand, in two sizes); in Spain, it’s the opposite: there are lots of different varieties of chocolate hazelnut cremes and apparently only the one brand of peanut butter.