It has officially been two months since I have arrived in Valencia and I am finally starting to realize the accuracy of what I’ve always been told, which is that “time flies by when you are studying abroad”. It feels like I just got here yesterday!
The past two months have been absolutely amazing, between the friends that I’ve met, the places I’ve seen and the education I’ve received. (That last statement was for my parents, as they never believe that I am actually studying over here)… but Mom and Dad, I promise I am!
I originally thought that the transition would be really difficult, although everything has gone well so far. My mom, sister and some family friends brought me over to Valencia after first spending a couple days in Holland and although it was really hard saying goodbye to them, I’ve been handling the distance well.
The only issue I have had so far was my course selection. The course selection system at my university is very different compared to Carleton. I would say that it is a lot less organized and efficient as all I could do was choose five courses that I wanted to take, not knowing what day or time they were at, or the language they were taught in. This led to me being enrolled in four Spanish classes, which I thought might be too hard to manage.
Essentially, after one class being cancelled and many emails back and forth with my international tutor, all my classes were finally settled after four weeks. If it wasn’t for the teachers being really laid back, I would’ve been very behind if the same situation happened at Carleton. My university feels more like a high school rather than a university as there are only 3,000 students and most classes are taught in one central building. As I am studying at a private university, the classes are very small with roughly around 10-15 students in each of my classes. It is a very nice change from Carleton as I always see a familiar face when I go to class and have become close with a lot of students in my class.
In terms of my Spanish, when I first arrived in Valencia I felt hopeless. It felt as if I had forgotten everything that I was taught, however now it is starting to improve. My goal is to be fluent by the end of the year so hopefully Spanish classes, Spanish TV shows, my Spanish volleyball team and everyday conversations will pay off! Valencia is an amazing city with it being the third biggest city in Spain there is so much to do and see any time of day.
When I first got here, a lot of my time was spent at the beach, which is absolutely beautiful and goes on for miles and miles. Even though it is still low to mid 20’s most days in Valencia right now, the Spaniards look at me like I’m crazy, walking down the street with my beach towel and in a dress while they are wearing pants and a sweater. However, this does make for a quiet beach all to myself! The city centre is also incredible with so much history, culture and beautiful architecture.
On the other hand, the city of arts and science is the complete opposite as the buildings are very modern and futuristic. Another key highlight of Valencia is el Turia, which is a park that stretches across the city and is the perfect place to run or relax with friends. Since people mostly live in apartments, people either gather on the street for “el bottelon” or go to the park before going out at night. I remember the first time I went out in Valencia and being so confused when at least 300 people were gathered in the park across from the club. Overall, Valencia is an amazing city and I highly suggest everyone to visit. If any of my fellow Sprotties are in the area this year, let me know and I would love to show you around!
Kassandra is a s a third-year Bachelor of International Business student who is studying abroad in Spain.
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