It has been a little over a week since I arrived to start my four month study abroad adventure. Here’s the lowdown of my first week in a new country!
You have all heard of it but, let me tell you from firsthand experience, it is absolutely the worst. I think it took me a little over a week to finally get back onto a normal schedule. Naps will become your favorite remedy — if they’re aren’t already. What I have found that helps ease the sleepless nights is the lifestyle in Spain. The Spaniards love their mid afternoon naps often referred to as siestas. Many stores here often take breaks during this time which is around 3-6 p.m. Due to this lifestyle, Spaniards often eat dinner at a much later time in the da
Many exchange students from surrounding European countries also study abroad and, due to the high volume of different students from all parts of the world, there is a lovely program called Erasmus. If you ever find yourself studying abroad in Spain….. JOIN THEM!! You will not regret it. They have offices all throughout different parts of the cities, so there is easy access to sign up. With the help of this program and the people I’ve met so far, it has made missing home a lot easier. You definitely don’t feel as lost as you would if you were to do this experience alone. Erasmus hosts many events and weekend trips that allow you to meet students from all over the world. There has not been one person I have met that wasn’t nice and friendly to me. As cliche as it sounds… they really do become your second family.
San Juan De Gaztelugatxe:
For all the Game of Thrones fans out there, this past weekend we took a day trip to Daenerys’ castle, Dragonstone. The hike itself was around a 7 mile roundtrip, but it was well worth the sight. We took the bus from city center to the island of San Juan De Gaztelugatxe — about a 40 minute ride. Once we got off we hiked a ways before arriving at the start of stairway that connects the island to the mainland. There are 241 steps leading to the top where you will lose your breath, both from the uphill stairs and the view. Once up, there is a ritual to ring the chapel bells three times. Past people have said that by ringing the bells they were able to pay for fertility or drive away the evil spirits and headaches.
Pintxos o Pinchos
Pintxos are equivalent to the Spanish tapas or appetizers in the United States, but they’re even better… why? Most of the bars — most cafes here are also referred to as bars so don’t be alarmed if you overhear someone saying they’re going to a bar at one in the afternoon — I have been to serve them for only one euro…. ONE euro. The people here really love their potatoes, eggs and fish so a lot of the pintxos are served with one of those three or sometimes even all three. They are fairly small in portion but that gives you a chance to taste a variety of them. The culture around these also goes fairly well with the nightlife culture here. Since most people take their siestas they often don’t eat dinner until 7 or 8 in the evening and then go out for pintxos 2 or 3 hours afterwards.
San Sebastian and Biarritz
We visited two quaint small towns today and they were absolutely breathtaking. Only in Europe can you travel a few hours and end up in two different countries. The first stop we made was San Sebastian. San Sebastian is a very famous beach in Spain and I definitely recommend visiting it during warmer weather. Even though the weather was filled with rain and cold breezes the views made up for it. The city itself was a very small and quaint town but filled with a rich historical presence. We spent about three hours in this town and I felt that it was enough to see most of the city. After this stop we hopped back onto our bus and headed off to Biarritz, France. This town was absolutely stunning — I have a feeling many places I visit throughout my study abroad journey will leave me with this thought. Biarritz is a very surfer tourist town with a bunch of surf shops located near the ocean. My favorite part of this excursion was visiting Roca de la Virgen. Along the way there are many places to stop, take pictures and really take in the scenery!
Tiffany Huang is an international business senior. She is studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain for a full semester.