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A Day in the Life of a Study Abroad Student in Granada, Spain

December 17, 2013
by CEA MOJO

I had always wanted to study abroad, but I never thought I'd be studying Spanish and Arabic in Spain, as I'm studying creative writing and philosophy back home. Only being here for about two and a half months, I've already been to three countries (not including Spain), have two more left to visit, and have the chance to minor in Spanish when I return to Chicago. I have so much to look forward to in the next couple of months, but here's what I've experienced (and continue to experience) since arriving in Granada, Spain.

 

Living with a host family.


Starting from the left is my roommate, our host mom, me, and our two host brothers. Living with a Spanish family is something I never thought I'd do, and it's nothing like I expected. As the days went by, I realized that it was more difficult to speak Spanish because the conversations became more and more complex. I was no longer talking about the general aspects of my life, like what I study and how old I am, but about my feelings and beliefs. But that only has helped me improve my Spanish and grow more determined to perfect it. That is something you do not get in a classroom, along with the colloquialisms in everyday Spanish life. 
 
Oh yeah, and the homemade food is pretty awesome..


Intercambio



The CEA staff will help you find local Spaniards to teach English to, and to learn Spanish from. I was offered the opportunity to do this (intercambio) with Alicia, a local Spaniard, through Dany Soler, one of the program directors here.

As if living with a host family and having one intercambio wasn't enough, I also have intercambio with another local, Jose, who I actually ran into on the street while trying to find my Zumba class. He noticed I had an accent and was interested in doing intercambio, so we exchanged contact information. And here we are learning more and more each day and becoming really good friends. Getting to experience intercambio with two different locals gives me an advantage in the classroom and makes living in Spain so much more exciting! Please, please, please intermingle with locals wherever you're studying. I love my life here in Spain so much more and I'm learning and growing more through connecting with Spaniards who have a different view on life.

Classes in Spanish (...and Arabic)



Never in my life did I think I would be taking regular classes in Spanish. My roommate and I were just talking about that today, and how we understand everything our professor says in our Islamic Culture in Spain class. Along with that class and the grammar classes (which are all taught in Spanish), I am also taking beginner Arabic. With all of my courses, it's a bit easier to get by, because all the students are American, and I'm able to whisper to them in English to clarify anything. In my Arabic class, however, that is not the case. The professor, like the others, only speaks Spanish and most of the students in the class are from Spain, Morocco or Italy. So basically I have to rely on the Spanish I already know to get me to understand Arabic, and that is helping me improve my Spanish so much more. Making sure I translate Arabic to Spanish in my notebook also helps.

Traveling Europe



Being so close to other European countries, it is so easy (and tempting) to travel to other countries. I noticed that one of my favorite bands was playing in Dublin (a week before booking my ticket). So I took advantage of the fact that I was two hours away by plane, that I had always wanted to go to Ireland, and that my favorite band was finishing their last days of their tour. Thankfully Maya was willing to tag along! Next on my list is Germany for Thanksgiving, and Sweden the week thereafter. I'll be visiting my family (who I'll finally meet for the first time) in both countries and cannot wait to share the experience with you! It'll be the best Thanksgiving weekend yet.
Stephanie Khio is the Fall 2013 CEA MOJO in Granada, Spain. She is currently a senior at Roosevelt University in Chicago.


Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.
 
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