I began my journey to Cádiz, Spain with feelings of doubt, fear, and confusion due to unexpected changes in travel plans. With my brain scattered and plans falling apart, I had to leave everything that was familiar and comfortable behind temporarily, whether I was ready or not. Flying by myself was a terrifying thought but I soon found some comfort by meeting my other classmates who I would soon build great friendships with.
Upon reaching Madrid’s airport, navigating to get to my bag and then to the train station was an adventure in its own. Who would have thought it would take me three hours to get from my plane to the train? Definitely not me, keep in mind my Spanish speaking skills were equivalent to a toddlers at this point. I finally board the train with a sense of relief and fatigue, thinking all of my troubles are behind me, I was mistaken. Somewhere in Seville our train lost power completely, and with that goes the A/C. Here I am sitting amongst Spanish strangers in what felt like a toaster oven in the middle of a pass over bridge. All information regarding the status of the train was of course given in Spanish at a rapid pace, therefore I had to just sit back and wait in confusion for three hours until the train finally began to function again. I finally reach the train station in Cádiz where I meet my host family, Manolo and Ani Martinez, some of the sweetest and most loving people I have ever met in my life.
Over the course of the program, I would soon feel as if I was a part of their real family. As soon as the program started, each day seemed to have flown by. With my many adventures and fun nights with my classmates, I had experiences that I will never forget. My Spanish skills also improved drastically through the classes I took and by talking with the people of Cádiz. The full immersion experience was definitely the best and most fun way to learn the language. Lastly, La Playa de Caleta was an absolute dream. A short ten-minute walk from my host house and I was at the beautiful shore. To study abroad is a major blessing, but to also have the beach close is a miracle. I absolutely loved my study abroad experience, the good and the bad. No other place matches Cádiz, Spain, a city with unique charm and beauty.