Since first hearing of the opportunity to study abroad in San Sebastian, I have anxiously awaited the time of departure. Upon arriving in Spain (after the world’s longest commute) I found myself in several emotional states- one part anxiety, one part excitement, and three parts absolutely exhausted. It has been a dream of mine all my life to travel the world, and I am finally setting out to accomplish just that. It seemed surreal when we landed in Frankfurt, and I had FINALLY arrived in Europe for the first of (hopefully) countless times.
The past few days have been long, action packed, and some of the most dynamic times of my life. Wednesday began with day three of Spanish class (day three of my Spanish learning life). Coming into Spain with only the knowledge of a few Spanish phrases was daunting, but being completely immersed in the language and culture has inspired me to learn as much as I can and to see how far my limits of comprehension can really be stretched. I am truly enjoying learning Spanish by way of class every morning and in communicating with my completely Spanish-speaking host family. It is a huge challenge, but I feel that I, and many others, have risen to it gracefully.
Later in the day came several absolutely beautiful hours at Playa Zurriola. The waves were huge and the undertow severe, so I found myself mostly soaking up the sun and observing San Sebastian natives enjoying their time. I noticed that everyone exists together in this little paradise so harmoniously- locals and tourists alike. I am so glad to find myself among such a plethora of nationalities, languages, and personalities. It is only day three, but I think by the end of these three weeks I will have a new understanding of myself and the world simply through the observation of everyone around me.
To continue with Wednesday, our group gathered by Playa de la Concha to walk to our First Ever Basque Class with Stuart- a friend of our professor, Julian. The class consisted of Basque language that I will never for the life of me remember with Basque cultural information and anecdotes tied together with the best of British humor. I found that learning about yet another language and culture opened my eyes even more to the amazing opportunity that has been handed to me.
It turns out that experts believe that Basque may have been one of the first languages ever spoken. This fact blows my mind- especially being here, in the center of it all. Just being in Europe where everything is older than America by tenfold is enough to make you realize just how small you are in comparison to the world and all of history. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it really puts everything into perspective, at least as far as I am concerned. Basque language and culture are both equally beautiful. With z’s pronounced as “hair-dresser s’s” and “tx” as “ch”, the words are difficult to navigate, but once you get there it is definitely a treat.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be studying here in the beautiful San Sebastian, Donostia, Spain, realizing my dreams of traveling abroad and expanding my horizons to anything and everything that comes my way.