Everyone always says that a semester abroad is a life-changing event. After living in Spain for close to two months now, I’m starting to understand why. And I want to share it with you. Here’s a list of things I had never done before living in Spain.
I always thought that the cultural differences between Belgium and Spain were relatively small – and I was right. Nevertheless, living on your own in a foreign country can make you experience things you never thought you’d experience.
I know this list of events might seem trivial or unworthy of receiving any kind of attention, but to me, they’re special things. So, without any further ado, here are the things I did for the first time during my semester in Spain.
Never Had I Ever …
… Done laundry
I still live at home with my parents, so laundry isn’t really something I usually do. I have to admit, the first time I did laundry here, I Skyped my mom to be sure that I was doing everything correctly. (Mom, if you’re reading this: thank you!)
… Hung out laundry at 3:30 am
Extending on the previous item on the list, a couple of weeks ago marked the first time I hung out my clean laundry after a night in the city. You might be thinking “Why would anyone do that instead of just going to bed?”, but I had my reasons.
You see, in that batch of laundry was one of my shirts that I needed the next day. When I came home, I suddenly realized that I would need the shirt, so I started hanging out my laundry, in the hopes that it would be dry by the time I woke up. And it was.
… Actually enjoyed the weather
The climate where I’m staying is kind of special. It’s really hot in the summer (all the way through to the beginning of October), but then it gets really cold after that. So, my first month or so here, I experienced the best weather I’d ever experienced. It actually didn’t rain for a whole month. In Belgium, we’re lucky if we get a week without any rain.
… Gone literally everywhere on foot
In Belgium, I go everywhere by bike or by public transport. Here, things are a little different. Before I arrived in Spain, I was planning on renting a bike for the semester so I could get everywhere faster. Upon my arrival, I quickly realized that there were barely any bicycles going around here, so I decided to hold off on the whole renting a bike thing.
Now, I’m walking literally everywhere. I can get anywhere I need to be within 15 minutes, so I really see no reason for any other mode of transport.
… Had such a busy social life
I mean, yes, I have friends in Belgium and I love them with all my heart. It’s just that, here in Spain, everything is different. I don’t go home in the weekend, I have to be 100% independent. I think that’s part of the reason why I meet up with my new friends here more often.
There’s always something to do. An Erasmus organization planning trips to neighbouring cities. A group of friends getting together for dinner. Some promotion at the local movie theatre. I don’t want to miss out on all of this, so it feels like my social life here is way more lively than it was in Belgium.
… Been stressed about going to the store
The stores here are mostly the same as in Belgium, with one big, obvious difference: everything is in Spanish. Asking an employee where I can find red beans, communicating at the checkout, … My Spanish is pretty good, but I don’t feel confident enough to live my entire life speaking it.
Also, there is literally not a single store here that sells sour cream. I need sour cream, people.
… Been so happy
This may seem like a stab at the people I know back in Belgium, but I promise, it’s not. I’m intensely happy here. I’m not saying my friends and family in Belgium aren’t good enough to make me happy, but hear me out.
Virtually everyone who has ever gone on a semester abroad says it was the time of their life. I feel like I’ve been in Spain long enough to understand what they’re talking about.
As an exchange students, it’s ridiculously easy to make new friends. After all, you pretty much only hang out with other exchange students, which means that everyone knows how you’re feeling and everyone is in the same boat.
The fact that you’re sharing unforgettable experiences with people you’ve only known for a couple of weeks is honestly mind-blowing to me. It feels as if you’ve been friends for ages, for some reason. It’s difficult to explain.
I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on here, and I’m very sorry for that. It’s been incredibly busy here, and I haven’t really had a lot of time to update the blog.
I hope this post can answer some of your questions and maybe even entertain you a little bit. I had a lot of fun writing it, so I’d be a tad disappointed if you didn’t enjoy reading it just a little bit.
There are no pictures in this post for obvious reasons, but the next post will have images again, I promise.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, check out my new video of our trip to Segovia and Ávila!
As always, thanks for reading!