2023-24 Natalie, outbound to Spain Sept. 26, 2023

Sep 26, 2023

I’ve been in Spain for a little over three weeks and I’ve learned a lot. A lot about my family and how they run their house, a lot about my school and the rules they have and a lot about Spain in general. I also learned that nobody seems to talk about just how hard it is to be an exchange student when everyone around does not care about you being an exchange student. I can’t even begin to tell you how many Rotext’s were talking about making friends and how you should do it when you’re still the “new kid” and people are interested in you but not a single student in my school gave two shits about who I was. It did not matter when I was introduced as the exchange student from Estado Unidos, nobody cared. To them I was just a dumb white girl who didn’t know anything and didn’t have to worry about grades or tests. Nothing I did or didn’t do made these people interested in me. The only time they cared about me was in English class. Go figure. That didn’t mean they wanted to talk to me, they just liked that the teacher didn’t focus on them all the time. Which is fine. I joined a theatre group called Act and Play run by a really pretty Romanian woman who takes theatre so seriously and I could not be more excited. I’m making friends, I’m getting by. My host family is helping me learn Valencian and Spanish (most Valencian because that’s what literally everyone here speaks and while they can speak and understand Spanish for the most part Valencian comes easier to them) So who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to America and flex me muti-lingual self to even more people who couldn’t care less. However, I did notice that the people who used to bully me in high school are now taking interest in me and what I’m doing. They ask me questions on Instagram or Tik Tok, wanting to know about my journey and where I am. I find it so funny that back in Estados Unidos they did not pay this much attention to me, but now they wanna know and it’s fine. I just find it funny. I love talking about Spain and where I live, I love it so much, I love absolutely everything about where I live. It’s a beautiful place and while there genuinely is next to nothing to do here, it’s got beautiful views and the weather is amazing and I love just walking around and staring at the mountains (something we don’t get in Florida) and petting the numerous stray cats we have just roaming around. It’s great, it’s a great way to get out and get some exercise and be further exposed to this language. Plus if you really want to go somewhere, they have a tram station in Cullera which is not only super close to where I live it’s actually where I go to school and the tram station is a 24 minute walk from my school, so I can just hop on the tram and go anywhere and it’s great. I love living here so much and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. You do have to drive places (because there truly is nothing but a charter, a butcher and a pharmacy as well as a couple family owned businesses) but it’s great! And oh the family businesses are so cute! They’re quite literally everywhere and they sell anything from pastries, to sweets to mugs to backpacks. It’s great and it’s so cute and quaint. I love Favara. The views are so pretty and you can see so many stars, and in the morning when the sun rises and paints the mountains in beautiful warm colours? It’s absolutely stunning! Everything about Favara is great and I’m genuinely so happy and excited that I get to live here, that I got chosen to spend my exchange here. I met so many great inbounds and outbounds and I’m just excited to see how I grow, change and adapt to the world and the culture around me and then share it with everyone around me. It’s going to be a great journey and I’m so pumped to take y’all with me.

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