My name is Kiddest Sinke and I’m studying abroad in Madrid, Spain in Summer 2017.
When freshman year ended a week ago, I parted ways—not just with my beloved mini fridge and all-you-can-eat dining hall buffets—but with friends from different backgrounds than mine, who at the beginning of the year, I doubted would ever be able to survive my cringe-worthy dance moves and obscure sense of humor. Friends who, months later, I knew would last a lifetime.
Last August, when I first arrived on campus, I would have never imagined feeling so comfortable 3,000 miles from my hometown. I knew at first I’d feel homesick but also excited for independence and new experiences. But I had never expected to discover a comfortable home so far away from my biological family.
I imagine that studying abroad in Spain will be a similar experience to attending college out-of-state. I may feel a bit homesick, maybe even culture shocked. Though in the end, I hope to come away with new stories, new friends, and a greater understanding of Spanish culture.
I’ve always loved traveling. Even the family road trips with my little sisters who would throw tantrums, screaming “Are we there yet?” Let’s just say the view from the Grand Canyon and Disneyland made up for the hair-pulling and kicked seats.
Ever since my first Spanish class in sixth grade, I’ve wanted to visit Spain. I’ve been on this quest to become fluent in a second language, leading me take AP Spanish Language my senior year of high school. You’d think I’d be fluent by now, but textbooks can only offer so much. I don’t think you can really learn a language until you fully immerse yourself into the culture it stems from. That’s why I want to study abroad in Spain—to turn an academic focus into a real life experience.
How will I optimize this once in a lifetime experience? I look forward to visiting art museums like el Museo del Prado and can’t wait to photograph historical architecture and street art. I also can’t wait to explore a number of nearby hiking trails, as well as Madrid’s flea markets and parks like the Plaza Mayor. Even though I’m an atrocious dancer, I hope to brave a few flamenco courses, or at least dance at a few nightclubs. After all, what’s a cultural experience without a little public humiliation?
Also, since we’re being honest here, I just googled “Best Things To Do in Madrid” and I’m kind of digging the zombie apocalypse themed Escape Room. That’ll be my designated obnoxious tourist day.
But realistically, I’ll probably spend most days stuffing my face at every food cart and restaurant I pass. Or strolling through downtown Madrid, letting the moment guide me. Sometimes you find the most unexpected treasures when wandering aimlessly—a cute bookstore, a hidden coffee shop, a stranger who turns into a friend.
Overall, I’m super excited to study abroad in Spain, and to share my experiences through this blog. While I don’t speak flawless Spanish, I look forward to improving it by making deep connections with students on my program, Spanish locals, and my host family. Maybe Spain, like university, will turn into a home away from home.
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<p>The name's Kiddest, and welcome to my travel blog. I live in Eugene, Oregon with my four sisters, which means I love hiking and drinking too much kombucha. I enjoy writing, drawing, and cooking. When I'm not embarrassing myself in public, you'll probably find me in bed laughing at memes. Sometimes I attempt to speak Spanish.</p>