Becoming a Spanish Senorita

My name is Melissa Stein and I am a Creative Writing major and Spanish minor here at UW. Soon, I will be packing my life (or clothes, shoes, cats?, photos, etc.) into the biggest suitcases I can find and flying off to Southern Spain for a semester. From my trip, I am hoping to gain a better sense of self through grasping the challenges of a different culture and language. I want to have fun, learn, eat, eat, eat, and see everything Spain has to offer. I am excited and of course un poquito (a little) nervous for my journey. It is unlike anything I have ever done before.

This will be the longest I have ever been away from my friends and family in my hometown of Seattle. My mother is bracing herself. The idea of her baby in an “oh so foreign” country for five months makes her feel the same way I do about not exploring the world; nauseous. We have exact opposite viewpoints, but I am okay with that. There has to be one adventurous person in the family right? Well, here I am.

I couldn’t be more ready to dip my toes into the Atlantic Ocean and submerge my spoon into that paella (a traditional seafood dish in Spain). My program to Cádiz, Spain through the Spanish department is so close I can almost feel the Southern sun kissing my skin as I write this from behind my rain drenched window. I love you Seattle, but my constant craving of sun needs to and will be met a little sooner this year.

In Cádiz, I will be taking five classes all taught in Spanish. These will fulfill almost all of my required classes needed to complete my Spanish minor. Through the program I will get some major perks, such as planned excursions to different cities in Spain and even to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. I will also be living with a Spanish family to help improve my Spanish speaking ability and understand the culture from an insider perspective. And hopefully to get some super secret family recipes. Can you say delicioso?

Upon my return at the end of May, my Spanish will be muy perfecto and I will have a stronger cultural awareness from immersing myself in Cádiz. This is the plan. I shall make it happen. Wish me luck and stay tuned for the journey of this rain city baby blossoming into a real deal Spanish senorita. Adios y hasta luego (Goodbye and until then)!

Published on University of Washington’s study abroad blog. This post can be viewed on their blog here


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