The GoGlobal Blog

Is this real?

Is this real?

Studying abroad in Spain has been a dream of mine since I began studying Spanish and it is nearly impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that I am here, and that this is really happening.

‘The week leading up to my flight, I was incredibly nervous. I began to do what I do best: make lists. I made multiple comprehensive packing lists, detailing what I would be bringing and how it would be packed. The night before my flight, I sat in my roommate’s bed and cried, feeling overwhelmed and underprepared for this journey in front of me. Even in the moment I said goodbye to my dad in the airport, Spain was still just an idea rather than reality. I have been dreaming of this semester for so long, and it is finally happening, but it still doesn’t feel real.

I have been in Madrid for three days now, and it feels like a dream. The first day I was here, I spent the morning and early afternoon aimlessly exploring the city with a new friend, Emma, simply taking in the sights of the city. We ended this excursion with a pitcher of sangria and a large plate of paella, a delicious Spanish rice dish (we learned from our director later that night that only the Americans order sangria, oops!).

     Here we are, as we explore the city!

Visiting el museo del Prado was an incredible experience. I have been passionate about Spanish art since studying it in high school, and today I was able to see the obras maestras of Velázquez and Francisco de Goya– something I had been dreaming of. Las meninas by Velázquez literally took my breath away when I saw it. I was in awe– the painting was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. The same thing happened when I saw el tres de mayo by Goya, pictures of the painting will never do it justice.

For lunch yesterday, I had the best tacos of my life. I know that tacos are definitely not Spanish food, but a friend told me that I needed to eat at Takos al Pastor, so Alyssa (another new friend!) and I went after the trip to the Prado. Those tacos honestly ruined all other tacos for me and I’m not even mad about it. For dessert, Alyssa and I went to a cute pastelería and got sweets: mine was called a pepito de crema!


Today brought about new adventures: an excursion to Toledo (a city south of Madrid in the region Castilla la Mancha), lunch at the local market, and a visit to the Reina Sofía which is home to my favorite painting. Toledo was stunning– we were taught about the history of the city, while exploring the cathedrals, synagogues, and the streets. During our free time, Alyssa and I stumbled upon gorgeous views overlooking the countryside. When we got back to the hotel we went to the market near the Plaza Mayor for lunch! We both had paella and I got a tapa with mozzarella cheese, jamón serrano, and jam on bread (can you tell that I am loving the food here?).


Visiting the Reina Sofía museum has been the highlight of my time in Spain so far. As I said earlier, I love Spanish art, and the Reina Sofía holds many paintings of Picasso, Dalí, and Miró. For years, I have been looking forward to seeing Guernica, Pablo Picasso’s obra maestra. This is one of my favorite paintings, and I don’t even have words to describe how it felt to finally see it in person. No picture can truly capture how large the painting is– I stood in front of it for 20 minutes just taking it all in.

It’s only been two days, and I don’t think the culture shock has hit me yet, but I also don’t know what to expect that to feel like! Tomorrow we will be going to Salamanca which will be my home until June, and I am very ready to be settled in. My nervousness from a few days ago has melted away, and I have a renewed excitement for the rest of this semester.


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