Looking Back and Looking Ahead

We are approaching our final few days in San Sebastián so we took some time for reflection. So, while sitting on Santa Clara Island enjoying the view we talked about the trip so far, how our expectations have compared to the reality of being here, how we feel about the city, what we want to do before we leave and how we will plan to capture this experience in our creative projects.

View from Santa Clara Island

Before arriving in San Sebastián I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was extremely excited to travel to a new country, but I was also nervous because I didn’t know what to expect in this new country and city and I did not know any of the other students in my group. However, these fears quickly disappeared once arriving in the beautiful city of San Sebastián. This is for a number of reasons, one being that the people of San Sebastián are extremely kind, patient, and welcoming, which made myself and others feel welcome and at home in this city. Another reason is that although most of us came into this trip as strangers yet we quickly became friends. Being in this new place and sharing all these new and incredible experiences with people we barely knew has definitely brought us closer together. It’s only been a couple weeks but it feels like I’ve known them for so much longer. 

When talking about San Sebastián and what we thought of the city there was a very common feeling of home. There is just a sense of familiarity and safety that I get here that makes me feel like I’m at home. I think this feeling in part is because of how kind the locals are, and that we’ve gotten to know the area pretty well in our time and explorations here, but I also think part of it just comes from the city itself. This sense of home really came through when some of us went to France for a day and when we got back to San Sebastián there was a sense of relief that came from being back. We all enjoyed France but it felt like we were home when we got off the bus and were back in San Sebastián. I definitely want to continue to travel to new places and learn about more cultures but San Sebastián will always have a piece of my heart and I definitely want to come back in the future.

View from Santa Clara Island

In the time we’ve been in San Sebastián we have had so many incredible experiences. We have gotten to learn about the culture as well as experience it through all the amazing food here, and just by observing it and taking it in while we explore.  We also got to go up Mount Igueldo which had an amazing view of the city. While up there we also got to ride on a roller coaster that was almost 100 years old which was a new experience because it was definitely different than the roller coasters we are used to. We also got to go to a winery and learn about Txakoli and the history of wine making in the Basque Country which was interesting. We also took a Basuqe language class where we learned some Basque and about the history of the language. We also went paddle boarding off of Ondarreta beach which was a fun experience we got to share as a group. Some of the more memorable experiences are the more relaxed things I’ve done like enjoying the sunset at the beach. We are also taking a Spanish class where we get to meet other students from all around the world. Overall, we’ve had a lot of experiences while in San Sebastián and they will definitely leave me with plenty of memories to bring home. These memories will then be turned into a project to represent our time in San Sebastián.  Some students plan to make paintings or collages from the trip, while others are going to try and recreate their favorite dish or make a video to capture their time here.

Ondarreta Beach at sunset

We definitely plan on taking advantage of our last few days to make as many memories as possible here before we have to go back home. For example, we plan on taking a surf class before we leave. This trip will be extremely memorable not just because of how amazing San Sebastián is but also because this has been our first real chance to explore and live our lives since the pandemic. We’ve spent the last year or so stuck inside surrounded by the same scenery and now we have this amazing opportunity to explore and make memories in a new place. So as much as we all struggled during the pandemic (and there are still restrictions in place), I think it made the trip more special and memorable.