This blog entry was submitted by Mimi Osheyack, who is studying abroad in Castellon De La Plana, Spain.
“I had come to Spain before and I loved every minute of my week here. I decided that a week was not enough time, that I had to come back and explore the country that I had such a short time with. So I when I returned to St. Edwards, I immediately began my journey to return. The return was not as smooth as I anticipated it would be. I decided to study abroad in Castellon De La Plana, a small city on the coast between the major cities of Valencia and Barcelona. I found the cheapest ticket to Barcelona and got instructions on how to travel by train from there to my city. When I arrived in Barcelona though with my backpack, duffle bag, and one suitcase, things went downhill from there. When my luggage was being unloaded from the plane, somehow two of the wheels broke off. So I had a backpack, a very full duffle and 50-pound bag with only 2 wheels that I basically had to drag around. On top of that, I had the hardest time finding the train that took me to the other train. Everyone I spoke to spoke very little English or in one case was very rude when I asked them for directions. I was minutes from having a mental breakdown but then I asked for directions one more time to a lady. She was from Ireland and was also looking for the train. She helped me with my bags, and together we found out how to get to where we were going. At that moment, in a foreign country where no one speaks my language, having my luggage break, and also being lost, finding the Irish lady felt like someone blessed with an angel or fairy godmother to look after me. I just felt so grateful and I still I am.
That was probably one of the worst days of my time abroad. Not to say that I haven’t had other bad days or sometimes what felt like bad weeks but the other times I felt that I had the tools to be able to navigate and push through whereas, on my first day, I felt so helpless. My time in Spain has been just as amazing as I thought and honestly so much more. I have always been an independent person, but coming to a country with a very basic understanding of the language, people, culture, and land as well as knowing no one else forced me to learn everything by myself. I learned so much from this experience about my surroundings, about other people and myself. I found that finding people you can connect with really makes the difference in your time abroad. Although at first, my experience with that felt shaky and a bit disappointing, with time I found people who I connected with. One of the best things about my time here was finding the best roommates. I found housing randomly through a listing of apartments through my school’s Facebook page. I posted that I needed a room for the semester, and girl messaged me saying she had a room available in a house and it was very close to the beach. I looked at the pictures and descriptions she sent me and without further research decided that to put a deposit down. I am so happy I did. There were four other people living in the house with me and every one of them amazing roommates and friends.
I do not regret much from this trip, but I do regret not having studied Spanish more seriously before I arrived in Spain. Having more knowledge of the language before I came, could
have accelerated my knowledge and grasp of the language a lot quicker and a lot more. I regret not being confident to enough to speak more.
Overall coming to Spain has been a journey of a lifetime. I have met so many people from all different parts of the world whom I now consider my friends. I have grown as person understanding better the different global perspectives and I have gotten the opportunity to travel all over Europe of places I had only seen in movies and pictures. All my life I have wanted to study abroad, and I am so happy that now that I have finally done it, I did it in Castellon De La Plana.”