A Whole New World

Avani Kolla
June 5, 2014

A tangle of nerves and excitement filled me from the time my plane landed to being greeted by an IES Abroad staff member in the airport to meeting my host mom.

But it turned out that there was nothing to be nervous about because while it may seem like a whole new world here, everything is new and different in a good way.

My host mom, for example, is one of the sweetest and most caring people I have ever met. In fact, even though I’m a vegetarian (which is rare in Spain), she has made an effort to cook delicious food that I can enjoy.  The other students, too, have raved about how kind and hospitable their host moms are.  So if you ever have the option of a homestay, don’t decide against it because you are worried about not getting along with your host family! The houses/apartments are cozy yet spacious and easy to feel at home in.

My bedroom at my host mom’s house

Transportation is also very different; everyone here walks everywhere, no matter how far the distance.  So don’t forget quality walking shoes (but not tennis shoes if you don’t want to stick out as a tourist)!  I learned this very quickly after my first couple days here when we did a scavenger hunt and toured the city.  And no one complains about the walking because this city is absolutely stunning, the architecture is beautiful, and you get to walk amongst sites like these:

The famous cathedral

The facade of the University of Salamanca. It is said to be good luck if you can spot the frog amongst the carvings.

View of the city from the cathedral

View of the city and Puente Romano (Roman Bridge)

The classes here are also significantly more laid back and relaxing. However, the professors seem so passionate that I have no doubt that I’ll be ending the month with an infinite amount of new knowledge.

There is also a newfound sense of independence here, which was scary at first, but is now liberating and exciting as it has already allowed me to have nonpareil experiences from learning salsa, to wandering around on my own, to seeing a protest up close.

A protest against the monarchy in Plaza Mayor

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Avani Kolla

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Avani is a soon to be sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. She is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. She loves playing the piano, reading books, and learning new languages. During her summer in Spain, she hopes to immerse herself in the Spanish language and culture. She is excited to experience a new culture, try different foods, and explore a new piece of the world.</span></p>

2014 Summer 1, 2014 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Pittsburgh
Behavioral Neuroscience
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