2016 Fall External Programs IES Abroad Richelle Kota Spain

Capitalizing on Opportunity

Now it has been more than a month in Madrid and something funny and strange is starting to happen to me. When I was in the States, sometimes after a Spanish class, I would still be thinking in Spanish for a couple of minutes or rarely, I could only remember a word as it was in Spanish. Now, I literally forget English words all the time or pronounce them in a Spanish accent when I am talking to someone who speaks English. Even writing this right now is a little bit difficult because I feel like I’m supposed to be writing this in Spanish.  My friend says that means I’m really immersed and that feels good! My friends from Majadahonda told me that my accent is definitely improving and that my Spanish is also getting better. I thought I spoke well when I came, but by staying in Madrid on the weekends and talking to local people via taking taxis and meeting other young adults through my friends who attend Complutense full time, I feel that I am better than I have ever been.

Although, I do still feel different within the realm of my program, I am glad that I chose to use IES Abroad Madrid. The program coordinators are very warm and caring and they plan a lot of nice activities for us to participate in. There are flamenco shows, classes, and trips to various places with a group of Spanish students. They offer us free printing in the office, which is small, so I am able to know all of my coordinators and have good relationships with them. I was even able to take a Spanish cooking class with my peers! We made paella, cake, and tortilla de patatas with the teacher. It was great to take the class for free and also be able to eat the food.

The teacher also told us the history of each dish and also a little history about Spain. It was really fun and educational and I was glad that I was able to benefit and experience something so unique!

Something very exciting has happened! I keep getting wonderful gifts from the universe. This time it is the form of my friend Anna and her parents coming to visit Madrid for a while. Anna and I were on the trip to Spain in high school together and stayed with our friends in Majadahonda. When we all gathered for dinner, we all had a lot to catch up on. It really was extremely nice to be able to have that piece of home!

Photo by Andrea Hemman
Photo by Andrea Hemman
Photo by Andrea Hemman

Not just that, but my mentor from the summer has been sending me books from a fund I received from the program. The books about womanism and guides on how to write are trickling in and I almost want to stop all my actual school work to read these amazing books. Having familiar things around me like books I have been wanting to read, friends visiting, and the weather cooling down enough for me to wear my North Face make me feel like I’m not alone in this.

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