Savannah, outbound to Spain

Well, three months in Spain have come faster than I would care to admit. The more and more time I spend here, the harder it is for me to write these journals. While I want to blame it on my busy life here, I can’t deny the fact that it is just simply hard to talk about what I’ve gone through. You definitely see a change in yourself early on. One that I’m sure will only become more significant with more time spent away from home. I’m more patient when working through situations that normally would stress me out, I’m more willing to push myself to achieve my goals, I’m not as intimidated by the need to problem solve, and I’ve also really learned to just trust my gut. These are skills that will be evolving and improving throughout this year, and I can’t wait to see this person I become at the end of this exchange.

With that said, I’m also beyond excited to point out that it is almost CHRISTMAS!!! Some say that the holidays are the roughest time for an exchange student, but I’m finding them to be the most fun. Starting with my Thanksgiving in Spain, I really got into the holiday spirit with my friends and family here. They all came over and we sat around the dinner table eating and laughing. We were also equipped with some fancy Thanksgiving themed table settings curtesy of my Grandma back home (Thanks Mona). Another lovely thing about Christmas in Spain is that the city is now lit up at night! I have absolutely loved walking around the city with my exchange friends and seeing all the decorations. There is Christmas music playing, lights in the trees, and Christmas trees in the display windows. It is also really nice to be able to bundle up by the fire at night because it is freezing (only about 35-40 degrees but that is basically the Arctic.).

The only down side about our upcoming 3 week break from school is the fact that finals are currently consuming everyone at my school. My friends have been really stressed out for the past few weeks. It physically pains me to see them at school because they are in a constant state of panic, thus drawing my attention to the differences in schooling here. Everyone has to memorize definitions, theories, formulas, and word for word passages from the text. This is very different for me because in the U.S you are tested on your ability to use information to infer, do, and show your understanding of a concept. Here all you have to do is memorize and write as much as you can. Of course, many subjects are a bit out of reach for me. However, I’ve been doing well with math, history, English, and my photography and image classes. Normally I am the English go-to for last minute help or simply comic relief when everyone looks a bit too nervous.

Once break has commenced, I’m planning on spending a lot of time exploring the city with my exchange friends. There are 10 of us in Murcia and we have gotten really close these past few months. When you hear exchange students say that exchange students are the best people you will meet, we’re right. Exchange has a way of bringing so many different people together, and uniting them for one cause; to live in a foreign country for an entire year without knowing the people, language, or general culture and somehow make it work. I have to admit, I think we are doing a pretty good job. We all come from different walks of life and that has made it so much more interesting. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this year holds for us, and I only wish we had more time in this country I have come to love.