Monday, March 2, 2015

ERASMUS Girona 2014

The time I spent during my ERASMUS year in Girona, Spain was amazing! It wasn't my first time abroad, nor my first visit to Spain, however I can say with full certainty that it was the best. I lived together with three fantastic Spanish medicine students in an apartment in the middle of the city. My room was spacious, clean and had a big window facing the impulsive main street of Girona. Living there really made me feel at home and therewith part of the Spanish youth who studied there. As the reason for my stay was an exchange of students between my university in the Netherlands and the university in Girona, I participated in all the regular classes and needed to obtain all the credits for this semester. Even though the classes were structured similar to the ones I had visited in Holland, I feel like I got a lot of new information, new techniques and new professional view on the material. In my class was a very endearing girl who took me by her hand and helpfully showed me around university, explained ordinary administrative procedures and even invited me to come along when she and her friends went for a night out.
The fact, that I didn't speak a word of Catalan didn't really matter, as I was able to express myself quite comfortably in the Spanish language. This was one of the times, where I was glad having done an Au Pair year in Marbella, Spain in 2010/2011 after my high school graduation. Without knowing the language of the country you live in, you never quite get to understand the culture of its people nor the attitude and the view on life they have. This to me, however, seems the most interesting part when traveling. Anyways...I'm drifting off...
I loved being fully integrated into the Spanish way of life. Step by step and day by day I got used to the "ooh, lo haremos luego"-mantality and to their constant kissing when someone new entered a social group. I adopted new habits such as eating lunch at 3 pm and dinner at 9 pm, drowning in-numerous eatables in olive oil when cooking, taking a piece of white bread with every dish that is being served and enforcing my conversations with exaggerated hand gestures to make my point clear. Moreover, being a german girl living in the cold, wet Netherlands I felt like I had to take advantage of every sunny day, every ray of sunlight and enjoy it outside, so I wouldn't miss any of it. Since my new found Spanish friends however had a daily routine, hobbies and chores to do themselves and therefore were not always available to go stroll through the streets of the old town with me, I decided to befriend other ERASMUS students living in Girona. And looking back, this was the best decision I could have made. Together with two amazing girls I went on day trips to the beach, discovered the metropolitan city of Barcelona by night, and had fabulous picnics in parks. I remember so many moments of laughter in bars drinking coffee or Sangria, while blabbering about fashion, our future plans, the countries we came from or simply about different people we knew. I recall so many nights dancing in clubs till sunrise and so many times when I wished my time in Spain would never come to an end. The people I met during my stay were wonderful, rich personalities and are now friends for life!

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