During my junior year spring semester, I had the greatest experience of my life. I was able to study abroad in Seville, Spain and it was amazing. I picked Seville because I wanted to go somewhere new and the city looked beautiful. At first, when I was headed there I was very nervous. My Spanish isn’t the best and I didn’t know anyone else going. When I arrived I took a bus to my host family’s house. Esperanza met me out front. I wasn’t aware that in Spain they greet you differently with a kiss on the cheek so I went in for a hug and she went for the kiss. It was an awkward experience but I quickly learned from it. Later I met Juan, my host dad and then my roommate Malia, who happened to be a year younger than me at Chapman. We clicked immediately and were able to help each other communicate with our host family because they didn’t speak any English.
Spain has some major cultural differences from the United States that I was not aware. Some of them I really enjoyed, for example, the siesta time. Being able to take a nap in the middle of the day is something the US could definitely use. The thing I really struggled with was the different meal times, I never got used to not eating until two and not having dinner at nine or ten at night. Also in Spain, their biggest meal is lunch, for breakfast they just have a piece of toast with some olive oil. While I was there I definitely missed breakfast but I still really enjoyed the food.
Being in Europe allowed me to travel to many different places. The plane tickets are so cheap, I think I paid sixteen dollars for a ticket to Paris. For my short time in Europe, I traveled to Ireland, Paris, Switzerland, Portugal, Amsterdam, Morocco and a lot of other cities within Spain. My favorite besides Spain was Portugal more specifically Lisbon if I decided to move to Europe I would definitely consider moving there.
I really loved being able to see these places and have once in a lifetime experiences. I felt I really grew as a person and I learned a lot about intercultural communication. Before I wasn’t really aware of the behavioral and social differences that happen in between cultures. I was able to take intercultural communication after my experience, which really helped me in my class but I wished I had been able to take the class before I went because I could have been better prepared. I think everyone should study abroad once in their lives because it really challenges you and requires you to use your communication skills to the fullest.