studying abroad in Spain - Lisa's lessons

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hello and welcome to your weekend!!

Today I'd like to introduce you to Lisa from Jar Full of Stars, who has kindly offered to share with you some of the life lessons she learnt while studying abroad in Spain at the tender age of 20. And I have to say I'm impressed! These days travel to 'far away lands' is second nature to me but back when I was 20 the idea of moving abroad alone would have been very scary!!

Lisa of jar full of stars

Hi everyone, I'm Lisa over at Jar Full of Stars blog! I'm so glad Claire's having me here on her beautiful blog. I just love this space she's created, in large part because I relate to living abroad. I've travelled, studied, lived in several countries (mostly Spanish-speaking) and am currently on my third year in Peru. Today I'm excited to share about my experience studying abroad in Spain!

So I realise maybe studying in another country isn't for everyone...but for me at 20 years old, it was the THE BEST decision I could have made. I really had no idea what my year abroad would entail. Actually, to be honest, I'd never even heard of Granada, which would be my home away-from-home for a year (guilty confession). So, I learned a TON!

view from La Alhambra, Granada
view from La Alhambra, Granada

1. People who dare to step out of their comfort zone are some of the most beautiful gems. I love my study abroad friends and still keep in touch with a good handful of them. They're some of the people I'm most proud to call my friends because of their love of life and adventure. Plus, I met lots of locals and students from across Europe.

La Alhambra, Granada
La Alhambra, Granada

2. Tapas totally pass as a meal. Lunch or dinner. Order a juice, sangria, or beer and you get a tortilla (Spanish omelette) or ham sandwich. Speaking of meals, all concepts of food and when they're eaten will be changed. For example - dinner at 10pm followed by espresso, just to get the night started.

3. Exploring in new capacities. Barcelona for a festival weekend, a road-trip to Portugal for a long puente (extended holiday)... why not? Only after coming back from my study abroad did I realize all of the places I could explore back in the United States. From brief day trips to weekend gallivants, I credit a good portion of my adventure-lust to my time abroad.

Lagos, Portugal
Lagos, Portugal

4. Take photos to remember the faces, the places, and the feelings. Looking back at all these photos I have of my time abroad makes me glad to have captured some slivers of it. Granted, the majority are party pictures because that's just what happens when you turn 21 in a foreign country.

bikes and canal, Amsterdam
bikes and canal, Amsterdam

5. Tranquilate. When I first got to Spain, I noticed that everyone would say this phrase, essentially meaning 'chill out'. Life in Europe in generally a few notches slower than in the US, which I didn't have trouble adapting to and loving. Siestas and hanging out in the plaza became treasured hobbies. And I realized that these things are actually valued time to be with friends and loved ones. After living abroad no one seems to tell me to 'tranquilate' anymore.

Park Güell, Barcelona
Park Güell, Barcelona

6. Oh yes, and learning a language! Actually, it was through all of these pieces of culture and destinations that I came out of my Spanish-speaking shell. It's always a risk of messing up and sounding ridiculous, but I think this is such a valuable thing to learn. And makes for some pretty fun stories after!

What else did you learn from studying abroad? Where did/would you go?

I'd love to meet you and invite you to come on by my blog. Thanks again for sharing your space, Claire!

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7 comments

  1. Hahaa I love the way you write and I agree with all of your points! I went to Japan for a year and it was the best experience ever, I love that I made friends with such a variety of people!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed and can relate, Anna! Asia is high on my to-travel list now!!

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  2. wow those pictures are so pretty! my best friend's thinking about studying abroad for a semester, and i'm going to show them this! great post!

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    1. Thanks for your sweet words and I hope it inspires your friend! I whole-heartedly recommend traveling to everyone - it really is an adventure and I've learned so much through these experiences :)

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  3. Thanks for having me Claire, this was so fun!

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    1. You're most welcome!! Thanks for your lovely post!

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  4. such a wonderful post! I studied abroad in Germany when I as 18 and it was just amazing! We really need to be ready to be taken out of our comfort zone - I had such a hard time at the beginning! Then with schools and friends it became easier! And I completely agree, I just love looking back at the pictures to remember the adventures, the sights and the friendships :)

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