Coming from a small corner within western New York, curiosity to explore beyond my home has always been on my mind. My interest in different cultures, languages, and people has taken hold of many aspects of my life. When I heard about this opportunity to travel to Valladolid, Spain from one of my classes, I immediately knew I had to take advantage of it.
Since this was my first time traveling abroad alone, I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to navigate and find my way around in a foreign country. When I first landed in Madrid, I needed to figure out a way to travel to my host family. I decided that the simplest option for me would be to buy a bus ticket that goes from the airport to Valladolid. Come to find out, making my way around the airport and bus stops were quite challenging for me because I cannot speak Spanish very well (ha, surprise). After making several attempts at talking to locals, all whom which directed me in opposite directions, I finally made it on the correct bus and started the 3-hour journey to Valladolid.
I have been living in Valladolid for about two weeks now, although it feels much longer (in a good way!). My host parents, Marcos and Silvia, welcomed me with open arms and quickly made me feel at home. All of my fears prior to leaving America vanished and I couldn’t wait to start making new experiences in Spain. I was not disappointed!
One of the first things you should do when you arrive in Valladolid is to visit their Plaza Mayor downtown. This area is where you can find many varieties of cafés, shops, restaurants, and historical sites. With so many interesting things to discover downtown, hours seem to feel like minutes. One of my favorite places to go to right now is a restaurant called Colombo because they have so many authentic Spanish dishes (for a great price too). Needless to say, downtown quickly became one of my favorite places here!
Another new experience for me in Spain has been teaching English at United Cultures. Since the school offers classes to a wide variety of ages and skill levels, I have been able to expand my interaction with locals of all different backgrounds. Although I am still new to leading a class and preparing lessons, participating in this internship gives me a chance to learn much more about the Spanish people. I’m also learning more about my own personality and interests along the way. I particularly enjoy interacting with the adult students because the sessions are always filled with interesting conversation and a lot of laughter!
This experience is giving me a whole new perspective on what the rest of the world holds and how much more there is to see outside of my hometown. When you jump into a situation without an idea of what to expect, you are pushed to make decisions only depending upon yourself and you make a lot of growth this way. I already know that the relationships and experiences I have here made will bring me back to Valladolid in the future!