Hello from the other side of my semester abroad! Before I departed, and then again half-way through the semester, I did a self-reflection with the promise that I would do it once more when my time in Salamanca came to an end. Four months later, it’s time!
As you look back on your experience, what was the scariest moment? How did you get through it, and how did it help you grow as a person?
Honestly, the scariest part of my abroad experience happened before I even left. The anxiety and anticipation weighed heavier on me than any other challenging moment I experienced abroad.
A close second would be departing Salamanca. Once you establish yourself in a new community, set up a new routine, and make new friends, it can be terrifying to say goodbye.
What was the most exciting, prideful moment in your language-learning journey?
In my mid-semester reflection, I wrote about the opportunity to help my parents navigate through a spanish-speaking country. Since then, I’ve had a couple of other moments where I felt great pride in my language-learning journey. About a month ago, I visited a chiropractor in town after waking up with back pain. While the doctor himself was American, the receptionist did not speak any English and I not only scheduled an appointment, but filled out all my paperwork and communicated my needs with her.
Another incredible moment occurred on an Uber ride in Madrid, when I realized I spent 40 minutes talking to the driver about history and art, all in Spanish.
Who are the people you met during the semester that made a true impact on your life? Who are the friends you stayed up with all night, laughing and making memories you'll remember forever?
The friends I made through my IES Abroad program were unbelievable, and I there are quite a few I’m excited to keep in touch with. We went through a crazy experience together, and I don’t think I would’ve gotten through without them. I have wonderful memories of overnight buses, homework and group projects, and trying new foods together.
One memorable experience was singing Karaoke till 4 AM on spring break, showing off our new knowledge of Spanish music.
What are some of the coolest places you saw?
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel all around Spain and the rest of Europe. I think my favorite place in Spain was Mallorca, a beautiful island with a rich history. Furthermore, I also got to visit Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Segovia.
Outside of Spain, I visited Portugal, Germany, France, and Greece. All were unique and fun in their own ways. I don’t think I could pick a favorite.
What was your special spot in Salamanca?
My favorite spot in Salamanca was probably Mandala Café, where I went every morning to study and eat. I had long conversations with new friends, immersed myself in a new cuisine, and built relationships with the staff, which was one of my pre-semester goals.
I also recently fell in love with Parque de los jesuitas, an incredible park on the outskirts of town. It's an amazing place to sit and read.
Overall, my time in Salamanca was remarkable and unforgettable. Thank you to all my friends, professors, and readers for coming on this journey with me.
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<p>Hi! My name is Nicole Stein. I am a Spanish major at Kenyon College from Montclair, New Jersey spending the Spring of 2022 in Salamanca, Spain! My favorite things to do are travel, try new food, swim in small bodies of water, pet baby animals of all kinds, spend time outside hiking, skiing and exploring, and making connections with people from all walks of life.</p>