It’s been almost a full week since I have returned from Oviedo, and I can surely say: jet lag has gotten the best of me. The time difference from Spain to the east coast of America is six hours. Believe it or not, these six hours really affected me. For instance, during my time there, I could barely call home because my afternoon was usually my mom’s early morning. I would like to say however that it did make my experience better. In not being able to call home as often, I was forced to speak more Spanish and fully concentrate on enjoying my time in Oviedo.
For my final post, I’d like give all the people studying in Spain in future semesters my top five pieces of advice:
- Don’t Over-Pack – I personally over packed and I regretted it in the long run. I packed a big suitcase (one which weighed over 50lbs) and two smaller carry-ons. This was a bad idea for two reasons. Firstly, I only wore some of those outfits once during the entire month. Secondly, there was a washing machine! I could wash clothes as often as I wanted, and considering I bought new clothes in Oviedo, there was no reason to pack so many from home.
- You’ll never wear your rain boots – This pretty much speaks for itself. I brought rainboots, just to realize it doesn’t rain in Oviedo the way it rains out here, at least in the summer. The majority of the time, the rain was mainly a drizzle of varying degrees. However, it was never enough rain to pull out the rain boots. And on that note, I maybe only pulled out my umbrella once. A rain jacket usually sufficed.
- Use the ATMs upon arrivals – The whole money topic was really confusing to me, mainly because I had traveled before and bringing American money to later be converted was what I usually did. However, in Spain, the Euro is worth more than the dollar, so that changes things. Also, finding places that converted money was so difficult to do outside of the city, that it was nearly impossible. Most students just told their banks they were traveling, and they were able to take money out at ATMs. Just remember to take money out in large amounts because there is a international withdrawal fee.
- Speak Spanish with your American friends – I personally wish I had done this more often, but as you may know: it is easier said than done. Sometimes, if I was in the mood, I could speak Spanish to my friends and use it as practice. It is easier to speak and mess up your Spanish with your friends because although they’ll laugh at you, they know what you’re TRYING to say. Simple as that. It definitely helps with your understanding of the language throughout the entire experience if you can make mistakes in a small setting without fear of judgement.
- Travel and explore! – A plane ticket from Oviedo to London is cheaper than a plane ticket from Washington, DC to London. I was lucky enough to have extra money to spend on a trip to London during one of the weekends with a few friends. With these weekends, many other students took trips to Barcelona or other countries. Additionally, if you don’t have extra money for plane tickets, the bus from Oviedo to other parts of Spain is also fairly cheap. One weekend, my friends and I traveled to this beautiful beach in Llanes, Spain on a bus that was about $20 round trip. Either way, make sure to spend your extra time exploring all that Oviedo, Spain, and Europe has to offer!
With this being said, study abroad in Spain is easily one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had, and I know it’ll be the same for you!