Kia ora whānau!
Not gonna lie, I’ve been dreading the moment in which I had to begin this blog. I dreaded that moment because it would mean that my time in my gorgeous little city of Granada has come to an end. However, I’m choosing to look back at my time and smile at the unbelievably enriching experience I’ve had that I will bring with me back to NZ, and through my entire life (prepare for cheesiness and emotions). Here we go.
Dinner nights with pals – nothing beats a wholesome night in with friends. Not only did I get to eat some of my friend’s traditional foods (Argentinian empanadas, Puerto Rican mofongo and French crepes) but these were amazing nights of feeling like I was really at home away from home.
Road trip with friends to the beach – after a semester of fast paced, intense travels, my friends and I decided to take a chill (and crazy cheap) road trip along the east coast of Spain to spend a week laying on the beaches – as you can see, it’s been a tough life.
My journey with the Spanish language – On my first day at uni in Granada, I felt like quitting all my classes and backpacking Europe – I barely understood a word. But after keeping at it, making friends with Spanish speakers (most important step!!) and forcing myself to function in Spanish, I survived the semester (and enjoyed it!) and now feeling ready to tackle Latin America with this new-found skill. Language barriers often scare people away, but I promise it is the greatest challenge you’ll tackle!
Things I’ve learnt
Budget – A quick word on money – plan this out well!!! I have made it to the end but probably would have benefited from a little more financial planning at some points..
The importance of people – You never know the kind of people you’re missing out on meeting until you move to the other side of the world alone. The amount you learn from meeting people who have completely different backgrounds and thought processes to you is invaluable. It can be scary but opening yourself up to new people will open your mind and challenge your thinking!
Exchange doesn’t change you, it brings out who you are! – I hear a lot that “exchange changes you”, but in my opinion, it allows you to be who you really are without any pressures or expectations. Don’t go into an exchange expecting to change, instead take every experience as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and add to who you already are.
And above all, I’ve learnt you just have to put your heart and soul into having the best possible time, whatever that may mean to you. Remember how long you spent planning to get there, so live in that moment! I couldn’t recommend an exchange more, it has been a priceless learning experience and 5 months I will never forget. I’m returning to NZ with Spain in my heart and a hunger for more new experiences, ready to plan the next journey.
A huge thanks to all my friends and whānau for supporting me and everyone who read these blogs! I hope they’ve been helpful as you plan your very own exchange, and feel free to say hey or ask any questions if you see me around. But until then…
Safe travels and good luck!
¡Buen viaje y mucha suerte!