Before I decided to go abroad and I was doing my research, I was super interested in the day to day life of a student in Granada. Also, the number one thing that my friends from home keep asking me about is my daily life. So, friends, future study abroad students who are curious, here you go: a (realistic) day in my life!
On Mondays and Wednesdays I have class starting at 8:30am, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have class starting at 9:45am, so the time I wake up varies a little. Most of the time I wake up around 7:30 and go downstairs to my “comedor” (dining room) to grab a croissant or some cereal. I will say that something I’ve struggled with is having enough energy from my breakfast to get me through lunch. In the U.S. I normally eat a hearty breakfast with a variety of protein. Here, I eat bread.
After my first class of the day, my Spanish language class, I usually sit down at a restaurant with friends in Plaza Nueva, like Cafe Lisboa or La Cueva. I like to get a cappuccino (sadly, I have to break away from my iced latte obsession because iced coffee is not as popular here, but it’s okay because the cappuccinos are amazing) and sometimes I get a tostada for my second breakfast. Including a second breakfast in my routine is something that has really helped me maintain energy throughout the day!
Around 11am I have my second class of the day, Mediterranean Ecosystems or Islamic Art and Architecture. In my Islamic Art and Architecture class, we take a lot of mini field trips to see neighborhoods, museums, and architecture around Granada, so I don’t always meet in the classroom for this class. The fact that my classes are often in places other than a classroom is great for me as a visual learner, but not so great for me in other ways. I love being able to see a mosque or a cathedral in person rather than only learning from afar. However, I’ve had to make a big adjustment in my note taking style, which hasn’t been easy. With the combination of mask-wearing and the sounds of the city, it can be difficult to focus in class. I am so conditioned to turn my brain to focus mode when in a school environment, so when I’m not sitting at a desk listening to a lecture, I get distracted. Over time this issue has gotten better, and I expect that it will only get better from here.
After my second class I either go to my watercolor class, or Flamenco: history and dance. Both of these classes make the artistic side of myself so happy. Dancing and drawing/painting gives me the perfect reset that I need in the middle of the day.
Every day at 2ish pm I go back to my residence to have lunch in the comedor. First, bread and olive oil. Then, soup followed by potatoes or chicken or pasta. Then bread again. So much bread, I think my body is made up of 90% bread at this point. Especially since I have trouble getting enough water each day. When eating at restaurants there isn't water offered for free, so I end up skipping water when I should be drinking it. They say your body is 60-70% water, and I think for me all that water has been replaced by bread. But not to fear, I finally bought dish soap to wash my stinky reusable water bottle and now I can have water on me at all times (I know it took me until mid-October to do this, oops).
I return to school in the afternoon for my last class of the day around 4:30pm. This 2-4pm siesta window is what always gets me. I don't know if it's the fact that I have the word siesta ingrained in my brain at that hour, or if I'm just tired from adjusting to my new schedule, but whatever it is, I'm exhausted at this time. After trial and error, the best thing for me to do is to fight the urge to nap and instead go for a run, do some homework, or go for a walk. This helps me to sleep better at night, and usually leaves me feeling more energized than if I had napped. This method might not work for everyone, but if you have trouble sleeping at night like me, try it!
After all my classes I like to study in my library or the terrace at the IES Abroad Center. The terrace has a breath-taking view (photo of this view included in the cover of this blog) that makes studying honestly enjoyable, especially at "golden hour" just before sunset. I watch the sunset, finish up my work, then walk home for dinner at 8:30pm. Overall, I'm very pleased with my schedule and for the first time in my life, I genuinely have a work-life balance. Because it is required that I return home for lunch and dinner, I am forced to sit down and take a break to eat. In past semesters I end up squeezing meals between classes and studying to maximize the time I have for homework, which is less healthy for me mentally. Granada is feeling like home!
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<p>Hi! My name is Lucy Mayer and I am a senior at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts majoring in Biology and minoring in Hispanic Studies. This fall I am studying abroad in Granada, Spain. I am super excited to explore the beautiful landscape and architecture in Granada, and hope to improve my speaking ability in Spanish. After graduating from Brandeis, I would like to do molecular biology research and eventually go on to pursue a Ph.D. related to science or science education. I am passionate about teaching and I would love to be a professor one day! In my free time, I love to figure skate (I have been a figure skater since I was 10 years old), dance, draw, paint, and go on nature runs.</p>