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International Center

University of Missouri

Month one

Filed in Blog, Spain by on February 7, 2020
by Kayla O.

It has officially been one month and one day since I left the comfort of my Chicago home and embarked on my study abroad journey. I write this blog from a hostel bed in Madrid with my best friend from home standing only a couple of feet away from me and I can’t believe a month has already passed. Throughout this past month, I can easily say I have grown immensely but still have a lot to learn.

During this past month, I’ve traveled to Milan, Venice, Tarragona, Porto and Madrid. I haven’t been sleeping a lot during my time abroad. School days are long and classes are a lot of work, but traveling on the weekend makes up for the long four days of school. I’ve found my favorite cafe, Buenas Migas, where I sip coffee and work on assignments when I have a break during the day. I’ve learned how to navigate the metro, which is surprisingly pretty simple. I’ve made some great friends from schools all over the United States. Also, I’ve grown very close with my host mom. During the first week of classes, I was very overwhelmed, didn’t know how to manage my time properly, and was extremely homesick. I went into the kitchen to talk to my host mom and she sat me down, talked me through the issue, and made me a lovely cup of tea. This was one of the moments I realized I had someone in Spain looking out for me, and someone who I could really talk to. Choosing to be in a homestay is one of the best decisions I’ve made being abroad.

One of the toughest parts about being abroad is the time difference between Spain and the United States. Most days when I’m waking up for classes, my friends from school are just going to sleep. But, I will say that after being here for a month, I have found a designated time where I can communicate with my family back home and my friends from school. I’ve also found there to be a language barrier, but the barrier is not as large as I had expected it to be. I surprised myself, and I know a lot more Spanish than I thought I did. At restaurants, I try to order solely in Spanish, and at my homestay I only speak to my host mom in Spanish. It’s been tough at times, but I enjoy the challenge.

Overall, I’ve had a crazy month. I’m learning how to orient myself and make a new city feel like home, and I am loving every second of it. In February, I’m planning to spend a lot of time exploring Barcelona on the weekends, and then I’m off to Dublin to wrap up the month. The first month has been a blast, and I’m very much looking forward to month two!

About the blogger

Kayla O. is studying abroad on the IES Abroad: Liberal Arts and Business in Barcelona program in Barcelona, Spain.

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