Joe, outbound to Spain

Hola,
I have been in Spain for a month now, and am definitely having an experience like no other. When I was informed I would be spending the next year of my life in Spain back in December I was absolutely elated. I was exited that I would be able to see Europe, learn Spanish, and watch La Liga. Now that I have been here for a month I am more elated than ever to be in Spain, but for different reasons. What has really made my experience special so far is the amazing people I have been surrounded by.

My host family in Spain is very different than my family at home, but an absolutely amazing host family that I am lucky to now be a part of. I have a very compassionate mother and father, a brother my age, another brother slightly younger, and a very young sister (who along with my younger host brother can be quite entertaining and also quite loud). My host family has been instrumental in the success of my exchange so far. They are always eager to talk with me, help my Spanish, help me with my homework, or help me with anything else I could need. They have really treated me as if I were their own son.

The friends I have made so far in Spain are amazing. In school, my classmates are very compassionate, helpful, and funny. Just after three weeks of school I have a group of actual close friends that I can Whatsapp, walk home from school with, and count on to have my back if I need help with anything. On my two soccer teams my teammates and coaches are extremely helpful in making sure I actually have an idea of what is going on, and helping me develop as a player. The friends I have made through Rotary are special as well. I am stunned how people from all around the word can come together and form such strong friendships. I now have close friends from Spain, Germany, Austria, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan. This forever changes my view of the world, and shown me how easily it is to get along with anyone.

Since coming to Spain I have also been able to see awe-inspiring sights and go to amazing places. I have been to a beautiful Island Chain (The Cíes Islands), Seen Celta Vigo beat Barcelona in person, play soccer almost every day, go to fiestas, and much more, and that is just in my first month. I am going to Italy in a week, and plan on traveling much more around Spain after that.

I live in a huge port city called Vigo in Spain and I absolutely love it. In Vigo everything I need is close to my house. My friends live nearby, I have a small soccer field behind my apartment building, the grocery store is across the street, and I can walk through a beautiful city to and from school with friends.

What I have learned in Spain in such a short time is absolutely incredible. I have learned an incredible amount of Spanish. I have learned how much a seemingly small action can affect someone’s life in unimaginable ways. I have learned to never be afraid of talking to someone. I have learned how far just confidence and a smile can take you. I have learned how similar people from all over the world are. And I have learned how generous people can be if you just ask for help. I will carry these lessons, and all the lessons I learn on this exchange, with me for the rest of my life; and they’ve already helped me grow as an individual.

I would like to thank Rotary for providing me this opportunity, and my family and friends for their unfaltering support.

Chao!

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