Savannah, outbound to Spain

One month in Spain, only nine more left..... 

A MONTH ALREADY?????!!!??? It’s so hard to believe that I have been living in Spain for a little over a month. It seems like only yesterday that I was arriving in Spain without a clue of what I was getting myself into. However, here I am, 30 days into my new life in Spain.

From being here this long I can safely say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Now, before I get into sharing all my stories and adventures, I want to point out how absolutely amazing this opportunity is. If you are even the slightest bit interested in what Rotary Youth Exchange is about, PLEASE take the time to find out more. Read and reread journals from current and past students, find one of us on Facebook, or just contact a local Rotarian. The biggest help for me in making the decision to study abroad was reading these journals. Hearing about all the adventure, excitement, struggles, and growth one experiences through RYE made me want this m ore than anything. So, please enjoy!

So, a little more about my host family before I start….
I live in Monteagudo, Murcia. It is an extremely small community just outside of the city of Murcia in Spain. I live with my host Mom, host Dad, host Sister, and numerous pets. My school is in a neighboring town called Llano de Brujas, and is about a 10 minute bus ride every day. I have been in Spain for a total of 4 weeks and have been going to school for 2 ½.

Being here for a month has allowed me to basically check out everything in my town and city. I have been to the beach in Murcia, twice to the beach in Alicante (literally the most beautiful place I have ever seen), went camping in Madrid for Rotary’s orientation, Bicicleta Festival in Murcia, and much more, with my favorite definitely being going to the beach in Alicante. It is such a beautiful city and it has AMAZING beaches. Water in the Mediterranean Sea is so calm, and the temperature is perfect. You can see all the way to the bottom of the crystal clear water. (I could have stayed there forever tbh). I will definitely be returning as often as possible.

Now that school has started I have pretty much settled into a routine here. The weekdays all usually run the same, and have started to blur together as time goes by. My average weekday in Spain looks a little like this….
1. Drag myself out of bed at 6:45
2. Get ready and hop on my very fancy school bus, that conveniently stops across the street from my house, at 7:35 (the buses are not the smelly yellow school buses we Americans know so well, they are nice charter buses that have A/C…… praise)
3. Start school at 8:25 and sit through six hours of Spanish instruction.
4. Get home by 3 and eat lunch with the fam
5. Siesta for about 2-3 hours (my favorite part of the day)
6. Finish up homework and do whatever we want until dinner which is usually around 9:30-10:00

Now, school in Spain is very different from school in the U.S. In Spain, students stay in the same classroom for the majority of the day, while the teachers switch rooms every class period. So, I have become really close to all of my classmates and have been able to make a lot of friends this way. Being the exchange student was pretty cool at first, and still is. The teachers understand that I can’t necessarily produce the same quality of work as the other kids, so they often help me out and give me assignments that allow me to practice my Spanish writing and speaking skills.

I take notes throughout the day and go home and review what I didn’t understand during the lectures. However, I do participate a lot in my English class and even my World History course. Outside of the classroom, you would expect to find clubs or sports teams at a school. However, in Spain, they don’t have these things affiliated with the school. So, you have to join these activities through your town or city’s organizations. I have recently signed up to be a part of the Real Murcia girls’ soccer team. I will start practicing Tuesdays and Thursdays, with games on the weekends!!!!! (I’m super excited) Other activities that are really popular here are martial arts classes, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, volleyball, and basketball.

When the school week ends, the weekends are usually spent hanging out with friends, going to the beach (when the weather is nice), or doing things with your family. So far, I have spent two weekends going to the beach, and the rest just exploring the city and towns with my new friends. I have made so many good friends in my school and especially good friends through Rotary. There are two other exchange students living outside the city, and another 5 in the city of Murcia. I think I speak for all of the exchange students when I say that Rotary, and Spain in general, have been so welcoming and take really good care of us. But that’s just part of the culture here.

I feel that no matter who you talk to, or who you meet, the people here are always so willing to help you out. Whether it is language struggles, directions, or just a friendly conversation, everyone is really open to you. However, one of the most rewarding parts of living in Spain has to be learning the language. I have improved so much in the past few weeks; even my friends and host parents have complimented my language several times. Another good sign is that it was surprisingly difficult to write this journal. I've become so used to Spanish that none of this English sounds right as I type it or read it aloud.

Well, that’s it for this journal  You will probably hear from me again next month with more stories from Spain!