Day in the Life of an IES Abroad Granada Student

Headshot of Adah Freeman.
Adah Freeman
April 24, 2023
Landscape of Alhambra over the Albaicin in Granada at sunset

All work, all fun, what is a day really like while studying abroad?

Well for me, it starts off nice and early around 7:45-8:30 A.M. every morning. My alarm goes off, playing a song from my middle school iTunes playlist, and I pull myself out of bed and try to wake up. I live with a homestay family, so I have my own room and a roommate (also in the IES Abroad center) who I share a bathroom and living spaces with. In the mornings, my family leaves out breakfast foods like bread, jam, cookies, milk and  coffee, so I make a quick breakfast before I head off to class. The homestay apartments and residence halls are all within walking distance of the IES center, so it’s only a short 12 minute walk (or 9 minute speed walk on certain days) to get to school!

Everyone starts their morning with their required Spanish language class, and thanks to the amazing professors, those classes are some of my favorite parts of the day. Classes are largely conversation based, and it is an awesome way to learn vocabulary and Spanish grammar in a very casual and relaxed atmosphere. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my ability to stay engaged in class at an early hour because my class is so interactive, and I love the duality of being able to practice talking about both deep and lighthearted topics alike. It turns out that, after class discussion, we all know a little too much about very specific American urban legends…

Once my Spanish class wraps up, it’s off to the IES Abroad terrace to work on homework while looking at the most gorgeous view of the Alhambra one could ask for. Depending on the day, I either work ahead on assignments, catch up with friends while we sit looking at the views, plan my next weekend trip, or sometimes waste all my time working on the daily crossword puzzle (like I just might have done today). Then I head to one of my elective classes: on Mondays and Wednesdays that means an hour of learning how to dance flamenco in a local studio! One thing I absolutely love about the classes here is that they really emphasize experiences over only sitting in a lecture hall for every single class. Classes like flamenco, watercolor, and theater are great for physically getting involved in learning an art form, and most courses have class periods dedicated to visits where we go to locations around the city and see the exact architecture, performances, or ways of life we have been learning about.

Once my morning classes are done, I walk back home for lunch at 2:30 P.M., and spend an hour or so relaxing in my room or catching up on emails (it’s as much of a siesta as I can manage). Then most afternoons it’s time for more classes or class “visitas” where we explore parts of the city and learn about different areas in the context of our classes! In my architecture class, we’ve had several trips to the Alhambra and the Generalife, which both means venturing up the very steep paths to get there but also enjoying the gorgeous views and buildings as we learn about their history. 

If I have free time once class ends, I like to pop over to a local park to draw or wander around local markets and stores with friends. There are also always events and activities going on, so if I’m not grabbing helado or tapas for dinner, I sometimes venture over to irish pub trivia nights or make arts and crafts in the local youth center. Dinner always starts and ends quite late, so a weekday night can sometimes end around 10-11 P.M.

Finally, its time to head back to my homestay and wrap up my night with a little more homework or an episode of a show (in Spanish or with Spanish subtitles of course). Then its off to bed and time to get some good rest before the adventures start all over again the next day!

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Headshot of Adah Freeman.

Adah Freeman

Hola! My name is Adah and I am a junior at North Carolina State University currently studying in Granada, Spain! Though my major is Biology, I have a passion for all things art and Spanish, and you can most likely find me sketching away during the late hours of the night. My current obsessions are gouache paints, crochet, and watching local birds! I'm so excited to share my time exploring Granada with all of you.

2023 Spring
Home University:
North Carolina State University
Biological Sciences
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