By Nicole Ciullo
My name is Nicole and I am a sophomore Spanish major currently writing this from my small cuarto in the beautiful city of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, a thirty minute train ride from Madrid. Since my salida from Philadelphia Airport on January 7th, my life has become incredibly more interesting with each day being a new adventure.
Before leaving for Spain, I was extremely nervous that the next cuatros meses would be the worst of my life. However, as my time abroad is slowing coming to end, the most important lesson I have learned is to not let fear get in the way of happiness. Spain, 3,616 miles away from the College, is a six hour time difference between here and home; It is a place where few people understand English and where people have to be mindful of the many cigüeñas in the sky. Spain is different, but the Spanish way of life is not wrong.
Here, people take siestas between 12 p.m. and 18 p.m., causing the entire city to close down. You can get a glass of wine and tapa for three euros. Nightlife at the discotecas do not start until 2 a.m. Adopting these changes, though strange at first, have allowed me to truly embrace the Spanish culture and grow as not only a Spanish learner, but also as a human being.
Though I have learned to love Spain, my trip has not been totalmente alegre. I have felt homesick multiple times, my phone was stolen at the most popular nightclub in Madrid and I have had to balance my new life here with the life I will return to at home. Sin embargo, en realidad, the good outweighs the bad and I have no regrets about my journey to España.
At least once a week, I take the train into Madrid, which is a city that has so much to offer and has been the home of many “firsts” that I have experienced in Spain. Madrid is home to the famous outdoor market El Rastro where I bargained with shop openers for the first
time, as well as the home of the Estadio de Real Madrid, where I watched my first live partido de fútbol. It is where I went to Kapital, one of the most well-known clubs in Spain, and the location of the airport, Madrid Barajas, which has taken me to other Spanish cities and all over Europe.
I have been blessed with this remarkable opportunity to see the world and discover myself through my travels, y por eso, I plan on enjoying each and every moment until I return to Los Estados Unidos at the end of April. I don’t know what will happen in the next month, but qué será será. What will be will be.
Until next week,
Hasta luego and adios.