¡Hola! ¿Qué tal? I’ve been enjoying this program so much! I was surprised the most by the cost of living here. I have been shopping a lot here because things are so much cheaper in Spain! For example, there are a lot of perfumerías here that have constant sales and markdowns, so I bought a few full-sized bottles. I have been speaking much better Spanish since I go out so much and I have been picking up on some cool slang from the locals and my professors. I was also surprised at how much easier my classes are than what I thought. It was of course nerve racking being in my classes at first since they speak Spanish extremely fast here, but I have now become accustomed to the rapid Spanish and I feel like I can keep up! I have learned many new Spanish words, how to be a better Spanish writer, and tons about the local culture and history. On the first day of the trip, we toured Alcalá de Henares and learned about the history of the University of Alcalá. I have also learned how day-to-day transactions go in Spain and how to navigate them. One thing that was interesting to me is that cashiers at grocery stores (they are called supermercados here) do not bag your items like I have been accustomed to in the US. I also now feel more comfortable traveling outside of the US because I have picked up on basic greetings of other languages like French and Arabic which will be useful for me in the future to be able to interact with people from other countries on a basic level.
Participating in this program has helped me grow as a student because I now have a better understanding of Spanish culture and customs which will help me better interact with Spanish speakers wherever I go. I have also picked up on proper Spanish business etiquette which the locals here definitely appreciate. Upon returning to Pitt, I plan to bring some of these new skills I have learned to school with me. These skills will especially be helpful in my Spanish classes because it will be easier to speak to my professors now that my Spanish has improved so much. I have really enjoyed this trip and I am so happy I came here it has quite literally been amazing.