The second of August, we had our final. I am also glad to say that I am pleased with my performance on the exam. Though we won’t know our scores until the following day, I think

A piece of art found along side the beach La Caleta.

about all the information that I have been able to recall and the way that my knowledge of the Spanish language has grown. I cannot help but think of how satisfied I am with this experience and how it has helped me to become more understanding of yet another cultural. I made so many friends here in Cadiz; those who will remain solely in my memories and others who’s contact information I have taken down. During the trip, I have spoken all four of my languages within the city’s boundaries, I have stepped out of my comfort zone to butcher a foreign language, and I have allowed myself to harvest the full potential of the experience.


I took enough photos to fill an album, I shopped enough to start a new wardrobe, and I learnt enough Spanish to establish a momentum towards fluency. Three weeks do go by quickly.

I remember at the very beginning, arriving and meeting our host families. Then the following day, going to school and meeting our professors. At that time, I had so much trouble understanding them and now I’ve grown so accustomed to their accents. And of course, all

Making tapas.

of our excursions and activities, from the tours, to the towers, over to ancient roman ruins, wine tastings, and then to the kitchen to learn how to make tapas. Being a part of the additional class led to a higher level of cultural immersion. On top of the surrounding atmosphere, we touched upon the history of Spain and the way that this history has helped to form what is now contemporary Spain. Topics such as politics, economics, arts, culinary, and the environment.


Due to a background in economic studies, it was the state of the economy that intrigued me the most. In fact, the subject surrounding unemployment and its current results is was I find the most interesting of all. The unemployment rate is 18% but much higher for individuals under the age of 30. By having public and affordable schooling, many young adults prolong their studies. Unfortunately, even with advanced degrees, it is still very difficult for them to find jobs. This then forces these young adults to either accept underemployment or to seek employment in a fellow EU country. This is a very big issue that Spain is having now. A topic that I will try to challenge in a research paper that I will be writing, focusing on the economical state of Spain, both in the past and present.

A sight from the Cathedral tower.


I wish I had more time to spend here; the last thing I want right now is to leave. Three weeks is an odd amount of time. It is too long to be considered just a vacation but then too short to get comfortable. By the time that I am entirely confident that I can effectively communicate with a Spanish speaker from the street, I am two days away from getting on a plane and flying over to France; a country who’s language I have forgotten trying to learn Spanish.

If I could change any part of this trip, the entirety of it, including France, I would have extended the dates a little bit more so that I could incorporate other destinations and turn it into a small tour. I really wanted to visit Barcelona, and possibly Madrid, among other European countries.

I think I might be addicted to traveling. No experience is like the next and I would like nothing more than to spend the rest of my days experiencing life.

A Different Side of Spain

My experience in Spain has been like no other; unlike the rest of the students here on this Spain trip, I’m taking an alternative course. Instead of taking classes, I’ve gotten the opportunity to work at the local food pantry. Over the past two weeks I have been able to use the Spanish I’ve learned and help the people of Spain with something that plagues the whole world.
Not only have I been able to learn the history, cultural parts and language of Spain but I’ve been able to see the behind the scenes that most tourist don’t. While Spain is a wonderful country and I recommend everyone to visit, it still has its problems like any place in the world. You see they’re challenged with a high unemployment rate. This means there are many people who can’t afford a house, running water, or even a decent meal. People can often be found sleeping on the streets, going up to strangers with cups or hats and asking for money, or with signs that explain their situation. Thankfully there are some organizations set up to provide people with food. For me it meant that there was a way for me to give back to this beautiful city and learn the language in a different way.
Every day at the food pantry is a busy day for us. Some Days we’re cooking chicken with rice and vegetables, other days we’re handing out nonperishable foods. However, on most days we provide two types of sandwiches along with a liter of milk along with bread. The bread is donated from local bakeries that we pick up that night before or the morning of. It is a nice show of compassion that these local bakeries donate their bread instead of just selling it at a lower price until it is finally too stale to be edible. It shows that there is a strong sense of responsibility in the community to help those less fortunate than themselves. This is something that back in the United States that gets glossed over unless there are organizations that reach out to the public for support, but even then it can often go unnoticed or unheard. All it takes is one group of people to start standing up, and to never back down and make a difference in the lives of those struggling.
When at the pantry, and whenever someone finds themselves working with food, preparation is key. On days where we’re giving out nonperishable food we have to first pull all that we need from storage. The way the food pantry is set up however is scattered across 5 different buildings along the street. The main building is where we do most of the cooking, assembling, and distribution of food. The other 4 buildings are mostly for storage of clothes and various foods such as canned beans, crackers, rice, potatoes, onions etc. This means that to prepare for the days when we distribute food, we have to go to 4 different building to gather all the food we need. Thankfully they have a shopping cart which makes preparation go by a lot faster.
When it comes to actually cooking, a gentleman by the name of Jose takes care of most of it. Most of the people don’t speak English so understanding them was a challenge for me at times. It usually takes them a few times of repeating themselves to understand them. However, everyone has been extremely understanding and supportive of the fact that I was completely new to the language and many even would take time out of their day to try and teach me a word or phrase or two. It was incredibly inspiring to see how compassionate and selfless these people were.
Everyone at the food pantry has a role to play and everyone one plays it very well. Along with that they’ve taken many dull moments and turned them into teaching experiences and everlasting memories.