Surviving & Thriving.....Sort Of.

Julie Miranto
September 2, 2016

I've officially arrived in Spain and despite all my nerves and fears of being unprepared, I truly feel ready to take on the semester!

As much as that's true (which it totally is), at the same time the past few days of living in a foreign country have come with their fair share of ups and downs. My friends and I came to Spain early to enjoy a few days in Madrid before our program began (to avoid jet lag and to see the city), and in those 48 hours we had probably only embarrassingly stuck out as tourists at least a billion times (no exaggeration).

But what, may you ask, was the worst of all these embarrassing moments?

Was it not realizing for the first ten minutes of sweating in our hotel room that you have to put your room key in the slot by the door in order to get the electricity and air conditioning to work? Was it taking way longer than necessary to buy metro tickets because paying with American debit cards is harder than expected? Was it when we attempted to go out to a club on a Thursday night only to be turned away because we didn't have our IDs? Was it when we attempted to solely speak to eachother in Spanish so that people wouldn't think we were Americans? (definitely didn't work btw, our accents are horrible.)

No. It was none of those things. The most embarrassing moment we've had so far (and thus the perfect metaphor for this blog post) was that one time when we could not get out of the gate at the metro exit.

Picture three girls walking through a metro, attempting to act like they know what they're doing so that no one will believe they could possibly be foreign, and suddenly they get to the little gate before the stairs that leads back above ground (you know those things that like count how many people are walking through? Yeah that.) One girl goes up to the gate and attempts to walk through, when suddenly she stops and says "It won't open", to which her friend (who is attempting to not look like a foreign idiot) decides she must be going through the wrong gate and then attempts to go through one of the gates on the other side (FYI this other gate was actually an "in" gate not an "out" gate). The confusion and awkwardness continues as the girls push and pull the gates around until a man starts running at them yelling in Spanish about what they are supposed to be doing. Apparently the original gate that the first friend tried to go through was the right gate......she just wasn't pushing hard enough. *cue red face as Spaniards stare at you and laugh*.

However, though that experience was rather uncomfortable, horrifyingly embarrassing, and very confusing (remember the yelling in Spanish.....?) at the end of the day it manages to explain my time in Spain so far in the best way.

Along the journey of this semester abroad there will certainly be a few locked gates in the way. Examples include: not being able too understand my host mom completely, being highly terrified of speaking in Spanish, getting lost in the confusing unmarked streets of Salamanca, adjusting to a new course load with new professor, amongst various other things. (The possibilities are endless).

But at the end of the day maybe all I really need to do to get past those darn stuck gates is to just push a little harder (maybe even while a Spanish man is yelling at me) because just a little more effort and force out of one's comfort zone is exactly what is needed in order to clear the metro gate and make it up into the beauty and thrill of the city.

How's that for a metaphor?

Much love from Spain,


Julie Miranto

<p>I&rsquo;m a 20 year old student attending Gettysburg College where I study English with a focus on writing and Spanish. I come from a big, close-knit Italian family, am in love with reading and writing, and am always open to new experiences. I hope to be as creative as possible in everything I do and can&#39;t wait to find influence from my semester in Salamanca!</p>

2016 Fall
Home University:
Gettysburg College
Explore Blogs