¡Hola chicos! At the end of my first week in Spain, a few things have become quite obvious in my adventures.
1. Don’t Be Afraid of Taking the Scenic Route.
Since arriving in Salamanca late Saturday evening, yesterday – five days later – was the first day I have not taken a wrong turn. However, having made those small errors, I discovered so many more corners of this city that I would not have known had I not gotten just a little lost. Don’t let the fear of taking a wrong turn keep you from exploring your new city. However, having said this, please see the next piece of advice.
2. Use Common Sense.
This includes not walking alone at night, taking well-lit streets, bringing your cell phone and a map (if you have them) and, above all, listening to your gut. If an event, person or situation seems off, listen to the small voice that is warning you. Many problems can be avoided by trusting your instincts.
3. Do as the Romans (or Spaniards) Do.
The point of a study abroad opportunity is to immerse yourself in the culture and to have different experiences than what you would normally have. For example, in Spain, it’s customary to wake up around 7:30 or 8:00, eat breakfast, attend work or school, eat lunch with your family around 2:00, return to work or school, then eat supper around 9:00 or 10:00. After supper, you then walk through the streets with your family or friends, talking and visiting with others. In the United States, I’m usually up at 6:00 a.m. and in bed around 11:00 p.m., so the change in schedule and activity was certainly something to get used to. However, because I’m adopting Spanish customs instead of holding on to my normal schedule, I’m much more fully experiencing Spanish life.
Tune in next week to learn how my Spanish skills are progressing and to learn more about Spanish culture and history.