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The pre trip jitters started to set in after New Years. I am quite excited to go to Spain, but at the same time nervous to leave my home for that long. Spain seems like a very nice country, full of culture and food and life. Being able to speak the language is a plus, I would be much more nervous going to a place in which I couldn't communicate. I met some of the people that are going to be in my group, and they seem really nice, I think I'll get along with them well. The weather is supposed to be amazing, it's in the 70s right now and I cannot wait to get there! Michigan is quite cold and gloomy at the moment, I'm quite looking forward to a new adventure under the sun. I think I'm going to miss my family a lot, especially my grandma. We're quite close, and I've never been gone this this far for this long, and she's beside herself worrying. But Europe is relatively safe, and I'm sure nothing will happen. I'm on a flight with some of the other kids, so that should be fun. We met up for dinner during fall semester, and they seem really cool. The classes seem interesting, but I'm worried that my Spanish won't be at a high enough level to keep up.
The weather lied. It's freezing here! I had to buy a jacket and some sweatshirts just to be
comfortable. The city itself is amazing, it has all these little streets with the most interesting shops on them, and is just beautiful. Most of the buildings are painted white, and it's amazing to look at from the Alhambra. Speaking of, the Alhambra was so majestic I can hardly describe it. It was so cool, and so intricately carved it seems surreal. My host family is very nice, and they have been very welcoming and accepting of me, which was expected but nonetheless appreciated. The trip to Morocco was amazing, and I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did. I have been taking weekend trips, but not nearly as much as other people have been. I feel like traveling is very important to do, but at the same time it is important to stay in Granada and actually get to know the city that we're going to be living in for the next four months. The culture of Spain has taken some getting used to, it's strange to get used to the different eating times and the more laid back attitude. Classes are fun, but hard. I don't like Experience of the Other at all, but the rest are really nice, especially my Islamic Civilization in Spain one. It's a little hard trying to balance schoolwork and free time, but I feel I'm doing reasonably well with it.
There is quite a large dichotomy between the intense relief I feel at the prospect of leaving Granada, and the need to stay and keep living this wonderful new life that I have created. On the one hand, these past two weeks have been utter hell, with 5 papers due, as well as preparing for exams. On the other hand, I have enjoyed Spain so much that coming back seems like a "when" and not an "if" in my future. I would love to come back to travel with my friends or future spouse, the Spanish culture is something that can only be experienced, not explained. I won't miss the stress, or the weird eating times, or the tardiness of the people, but I feel like I finally found my place, only to leave soon after. I feel I have definitely grown as a person, and became much more independent and self-reliant than I would have spending the semester at home. I was definitely homesick at times, but I was able to work through it and deal with it, proving that even though I don't like being away from my family for a long time, I can do it. I think returning to Spain is in my future, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to discover another culture and way of life.