Friday, September 26, 2014

I'm in Alicante, Spain!

by Delana S., Panther Blogger

I officially just completed week three of my time in Spain, and let me say that it is amazing!  I live with a wonderful host mother named Andrea, who is an amazing cook and very funny.  We live in an apartment building where there are three other students in the same program.  All of us have become pretty good friends and hang out frequently.  Things are great here and yet, I am also doing a lot of work for when I go back to Ferrum in the spring.  Everyone in the program comes from many different places around the United States, and each has a unique story and background that brings us all closer together.

As far as the city itself goes, it is beautiful and hot.  There is never a lack of sunshine here, and it makes taking a siesta more necessary than in the United States.  Also, it's too hot to do much of anything else, except go to the beach, which I have done a healthy amount of.  In all honesty, it feels like I traded one beach for another, since most of my time at home this summer was spent at the beach there.  The only difference is that this one is nicer in the sense that I can walk all the way out to my shoulders before it starts to get deep, and I can see my feet.  The water is not super-clear, but you can see the bottom and that is always a plus when swimming!

The Universidad de Alicante (University of Alicante) is where I am taking classes and spending an ample amount of my time during the week.  Granted, I do not have Friday classes and that is a huge plus in my book, and I am only at the University when I need to be.  The University used to be the airport during the civil war and there are some remnants of that through one of the buildings and the setup of some of the university walkways.  The campus is huge and it is taking a little bit of getting used to, but it is pretty diverse with a multitude of cafeterias, a bookstore, ATM, fountains, and fauna.  The best part of the University so far is that it is close to the city, but not in the middle of it since it is a little set off and makes its own mini-city within the campus.  It is also very common to find friends sitting/laying in the shade just hanging out or doing work.

When it comes to meeting people within the city, we all know that I am not shy and love interacting with strangers.  With Alicante being on the coast and a great tourist location, you can meet a lot of different people outside the university.  I have made a British friend by the name of Alexius, whom I met one day when I was asking for directions.  He remembered me the next time we saw each other and we became friends from that point on.  I have also made friends with two Spanish girls, Veronica and Esther, who are both really interesting to talk to and help me with whatever I need to do or get around here in the city.  They are also great people to go out with and eat tapas or grab ice cream with.  Tapas would more or less be the United States version of appetizers.

I do have some plans to travel and visit a few places around Spain, and so far, I have been to Valencia. It is a unique city that they say is similar to Alicante in many aspects, but at the same time, it is different.  While there, we toured around the city and during my free time, I was able to go with a group of my friends to enjoy some nice Paella, which had chicken and mushrooms in it.  Paella is a Valencian rice dish that can contain an assortment of ingredients.

Every day is a learning experience in Alicante.  It is not my first time in Spain, but it is in this new city, and I have figured out my way around it mostly.  More is sure to happen as my time here continues, but until then...

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