Joe, outbound to Spain

Hola,
I’ve been in Spain for around 2 months now, and I am truly having the time of my life, and I am extremely grateful to Rotary for this incredible opportunity.

Trying to describe my life so far on exchange in just a journal is like trying to tell a really weird and personal joke that is hilarious to me (and to whoever was there), but impossible to understand for listeners. And some listeners will even think that they understand the joke, but really they can't. Everyone has these “jokes”, and many strong friends will share profuse amounts of them. I feel like these “jokes”, these stories that can’t be captured in a picture or story or journal, are something really special about life, and more directly, my exchange. In my journal there is no story I can tell, no picture I can show, no feeling I can write that can really capture the true essence of my exchange. But with that said, here is my journal recounting the last surreal month I have spent in the beautiful city of Vigo.

Since last posting a journal I travelled an incredible amount and participated in many activities. I’ve gone to Italy for a week, and travelled all around Galicia (my region of Spain). I’ve gone to fiestas, ran a race, played soccer; I could make a list for every week. But what has really made these moments special so far is the people I have been around. I talked last week about how great my host family is, and how friendly my classmates are in my school at Spain, and now I am hitting a point when I am starting to make real connections with these amazing people.
The connections and friendships I have made in Vigo are unreal. My friends and I try to get together about all the days we can, we walk to and from school together, and Whatsapp daily. I’ve also really realized in my time abroad how strong my connections are with my friends and family in Florida. I love them all, and have felt homesick on occasion. The time I’ve spent away from them has really solidified how strong our bonds can really be, in that I think about them every day.

I feel like an important facet of my exchange so far has been that I have been another student in my school, and not just “the exchange student”. In my school I am (usually) treated normally by my professors. I have to do the homework, study for tests; and I, like my classmates, make plans for the weekend, and of course, wish it would come faster. Yes, I don’t get privileges such as not having to go to school, or getting to travel all of the time with Rotary, but in return I get a very accurate and personal view of school and life as a student in Vigo, Spain.

I keep this journal short because there is really one thing I’ve learned so far on exchange. What matters the most is not where you go, what you see, or what you gain. But instead it is that you do what you love, and much more importantly, you do it with people who you love.

Chao!

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