By Evone’ Garcia
Five Tips to Help Conquer Your First Week Abroad…
It has been a full week since arriving in Granada, Spain from the United States and since my arrival there are some pieces of advice, that I thought I would share with future study abroad students. First things first, it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed when landing in another country. Not only is the culture different, but the food and language are too. Everything is in Spanish, which means having a background of studying the language would be ideal. Hearing the language 24/7 can definitely make any person that is not familiar with it want to scream. Do not be alarmed, the people of Granada are very patient when it comes to speaking with tourists.
The second piece of advice be prepared to walk, everywhere! If you are going to be living in Granada for a month then you will have to assimilate to the norms. Majority of people in Granada walk or use taxis/buses. Thankfully most places are close to the main road, Calle Rodonda. It is important to bring good walking shoes and keep hydrated because it is hot!
Next, homesickness is a real thing and to help with it, bring lots of pictures from home. Talk to your family as much as possible, SIM cards are available at the airport in Spain or in Granada. I recommend buying one if you plan to use your phone a lot, or see what is available with your carrier. Also talk with the members in your study abroad program as much as you can because most likely they are feeling the same way.
Another piece of advice know or look up the conversions ahead of time. For example, Spain uses Euros as its currency which is cheaper than the USD. Even if you have a credit/debit card only Euros are accepted and there will be a charge to convert to USD. Kilograms are used instead of pounds so if you plan on working out keep this in mind, the plate will be heavier! Time is measured in the 24 hour time frame and temperature is in celsius. So if you say it is 90 degrees outside, the local Granadians would probably look at you scared because that is really high in celsius. I cannot stress this last one enough, the outlets are different in Spain which means before arriving you will either have to buy the correct types C plug or wait and purchase one in Granada.
Lastly, remember to have fun, Spain is a country with a lot of art, culture, and nightlife. Experience all that Granada has to offer before going to the bigger cities of Barcelona or Madrid. There are definitely some hidden gems in this city. Sign up for as many group trips through your study abroad program. OR ask the locals what there is to do. Trust me there is plenty. If you enjoy food and wish to try traditional Spanish dishes, then TAPAS is the way to go. They are free in Granada and also delicious.