I’m writing this blog post at one of my favorite coffee shops, Zoe (other good ones include Pilar del Torro, Baraka, and Deti—all have wifi). I am an avid coffee drinker back in America so when I got to Spain and realized that my closest option here was espresso with some milk (café con leche), I was a little disheartened. You can order an Americano but it’s not the same as an American cup of coffee. So, I decided to steer into the skid.
I now drink probably two café con leches a day.
There is nothing better than posting up at a coffee shop, doing some homework, and sipping on a coffee. Pricing usually between 1 to 2 euros, coffee is affordable, accessible, and muy rico (very delicious).
These are truly the gem of Granada. If you’re reading this because you’re a prospective student or if you’re reading this because you know me personally, then you probably already know about tapas culture here. However, if you’re a newbie, allow me to explain: with every drink you order (soda, wine, beer, or water) you will be given a free tapa (it’s typically whatever’s freshest and hottest in the kitchen). You usually can’t pick what it is (however in some restaurants you can) so just be sure to tell your server if you have an allergy. This culture brings people out and about. Eating out is very cheap and it encourages and fosters a social and fun and young environment. Everyone who comes to, and lives in, Granada loves it—I mean, what’s not to love about free, fresh food?
The Spanish immersion
If you want to learn Spanish, come to Granada. All of my friends who came with the intention of leaving fluent (at least conversationally fluent) are attaining their goal. Homestays are incredibly immersive and allow for a comprehensive and informal Spanish education. If you’re like me and you’re coming to Granada on barley two semesters of Spanish with no previous conversational experience, the program is a little rocky at first. Every email, every tour, every lecture during orientation—everything is in Spanish. Yes, it’s intimidating, however it forces you to learn. It’s such a supportive program and group of people that it’s okay to learn at your own pace. My Spanish is certainty far from fluent, but I can navigate normal social situations and get help if need be. I can order my food, I can check into the airport, and I can even converse (slowly) with locals. My classes are geared to not overwhelm me, but help me learn. Also, in Granada, since there’s very little English I get to practice my Spanish every day!
I must say I am impressed. The staff at IES Abroad are truly there to help you and support you and guide you through life in Granada. I have been on many staffs and been a participant in many programs and I can absolutely say that I am so impressed with IES Abroad. They are cohesive and understanding and so helpful in every aspect of study abroad. They know how hard it can be for some people and are there to aid in any way they can. I feel so lucky to be on this program with such a wonderful, engaging, and present staff.
My Islamic Art & Architecture professor said yesterday, “Your parents sent you here for two reasons: (1) the Alhambra, and (2) the good wine.” It’s true. The wine is inexpensive, beautifully made, and very fun. I am learning a lot of about wine and how it’s made and the process of aging and which grapes are used for which wines. It’s so interesting and a very nice break from the drinking culture in America.
The new way of life
Overall, Granada’s pace of life is different. People stay out late, people sleep in, people drink coffee and wine but somehow never water and are yet never dehydrated. The streets are beautiful and the air is crisp. People are blunt but also very forgiving when you mess up your Spanish. Granada has been teaching me so much and I am so happy I decided to study abroad here. I can’t wait to see what else I’ll learn in the coming weeks!
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<p>I love to laugh and think that's sometimes the best medicine. I spent this past summer dissecting human brains in a lab and the summer before that being an over-night counselor for eighteen twelve-year-old girls. I love to produce music and foster dogs. I took psychophysics class my very first semester by mistake (the pre-requists were calculus and physics: neither of which I had taken so it's still unclear who let<br>me into that class) which was truly the hardest class of my life but I stayed in it the whole semester and worked harder than I ever previously had and wound up doing well - still proud of that one! There are a lot of parts to me, and I'm happy to keep figuring them all out!</p>