What is one piece of advice you'd give future Sol Education Abroad students?
Angelita: Spend time with your host family. It's so easy and they will most likely be who you want to keep in touch with most after you return. If you ever go back to wherever you're studying, they are who you will want to visit.
The closer you become, the easier that will be. They will really appreciate that you want to spend time with them and are so willing to share their culture with you. The host family is probably the best resource for learning the culture and language, so take advantage of it!
Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country:
Angelita: Walking in public with a lot of people around is an interesting experience. We were always swapping stories about nearly running into someone because Spaniards seem to be unable to move out of the way. One time, I was looking down at my phone and had to abruptly stop to avoid running right into someone.
The only reason I saw her was because she was literally right in front of me. I’m fairly certain she was looking up, in my direction…was she unconcerned about the fact that we were about to collide? It was always a mystery to us how Spaniards don’t run into each other all the time.
If you could do-over one thing, what would it be?
Angelita: I would have walked around the city more. With a 20-25 minute walk to school, and a similar time for any other destination, I was lazy about doing much more walking. I only went to the university main campus one time because it was so far from my home and I always meant to go again but it never happened. I did see a lot of the city but I think there was a lot more to see, or explore more than once, that I just didn’t.
Do you feel you got a chance to see the city from a local's perspective?
Angelita: My host parents were great resources for seeing the city from a local’s perspective. Some of my favorite days were visiting their farm or going out for tapas with them. Our program directors also provided us with a lot of information for local events and activities that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, like the flea market.
Did you run into a language barrier? Did you ever think you knew more/less of the language?
Angelita: There were times when I could see that I really was learning because of phrases or important words that I didn’t know before; however, there were also a lot of times where I could sit and listen to a conversation between two native speakers and not understand hardly anything. Most people are very understanding so the best way to have fewer moments like that is to ask when you don’t understand and practice using the new things you learn.