Hello dear reader(s),
I’m a good month in and life in Salamanca has started to become a lot more organized. That is, all my classes have started so I have a pretty consistent schedule every week. I’d like to share with you (all) what you can expect if you decide to study abroad (or live) in Spain at some point in your life. NOTE: This schedule is mine and mine alone. Everyone has different classes, clubs, and friends so everyone has different schedules. Don’t be too disappointed if my schedule isn’t what you were expecting; it might be similar to what you experience but I can assure you it won’t be exactly the same.
Daily Schedule (Mon-Thurs)
I’m really supposed to wake up at 7:00 to get a good jump on the day but in reality, the snooze button is the best button and I don’t roll out of bed until (maybe) 7:45/7:50am.
Breakfast, sadly, is not the most important deal of the day here in Spain. Instead of looking forward to eggs, bacon, pancakes, yogurt, really, whatever is typical breakfast food in the U.S., I normally have a couple pieces of toast (but it’s not really toast, it’s actually like a really big crouton without the seasoning) with jelly, some tea, and a little muffin.
Because my host stay is located a good 20 minutes away from anything important, it takes a minute for me to walk from one side of town to the next to get to all of my classes and events.
Language class. This is mandatory for all students studying in the Salamanca IES Abroad program. We’re all divided into different level language courses and go over grammar, Spanish texts, and colloquial phrases. I’d say it’s like the Spanish class you would have back at your host school.
Classes. I’m enrolled in both IES Abroad courses and a course at one of the local universities (La Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca) and classes run between an hour and a half to two hours each.
Lunch. The only way to make up for eating lunch at such a late hour is that this meal is the biggest and tastiest of the day. Normally, there’s a first course like pasta or soup, then a second course with meat of some kind (pork products are very, very popular), then dessert (normally fruit). Oh, and there is always, always bread. My host mom has conditioned me so well that at this point, if I don’t get a piece of bread at lunchtime I unconsciously don’t associate the meal with lunch.
I have one afternoon class right after lunch two days a week so I make the trek back to the city center to get there on time. After this class or on the days when I don’t have the class, I have lots of free time that I should spend studying but (sometimes) that doesn’t really happen and I get gelato instead.
Study time. This is the point of my day when I think to myself:
“Ok, Katrina, you actually really need to sit down and do your homework now because you know you’re going to be stressed tf out come Sunday night if you watch another episode of Orphan Black now instead of doing your reading for your Lit class”.
And then I think: “You’re right Katrina. I need to sit down and focus… but there’s only two more episodes left in the season… I can just finish this up and then be in the right frame of mind for studying right?”
Heavy sigh. And then I do my homework. Most days.
Yeah, I don’t eat dinner until 9 at night and I’ve basically had to give a good amount of my budget over to cafes (especially those that serve gelato) to keep from starving between meal times.
There’s a lot of disparity to what I do during this time on any given day. Sometimes I finish up the homework I avoided doing earlier. Sometimes (but this is rarer) I try to get ahead and finish projects that are due the next week. Most of the time, I’m fighting off sleep as I finish my readings for classes.
Weekends are whatever I make them. I’m really grateful I got the host mom that I did because she gets it. On the days that I don’t have class, she understands that I won’t be waking up until closer to 10:00/11:00 in the morning. Since all the students in my program don’t have Friday classes, many people use the weekend to travel. I’ve gone on a couple of day trips around Spain but most of my big traveling won’t happen until the end of the program during winter break.
During the day, I’ll try to finish up other work that needs to be done (a fun thing I remembered is that I’m going to want an internship when I get back to the U.S. and the deadlines for all those are still happening whether I’m in the country or not). At night, I may go out with some friends or I may stay in and relax; it really depends on how the week went. Basically, I can spend the weekends here the same way I would spend the weekends back at home. Although, I will say that the nightlife in Salamanca is a lot more fun than my college town back home.
So there it is reader(s). This is my normal day-to-day experience as a study abroad student. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that (the people I interact with, the places I go to, and the things I see all add more variety to each day), but this is the general outline of my day. ¡Hasta luego!
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<p>I'm a third year college student excited about seeing everything this amazing planet has to offer. Originally from Oregon, I've slowly been finding my place in the world through travels throughout North America, China, and now Europe! I hope this blog offers advice, inspiration, and a bit of humor for any current and future travelers.</p>