My first time in Europe was in 2008, when I had the great opportunity to visit my friends home in Marbella, Spain for a few weeks in the summer. There, I had a crash course on culture shock. I didn’t speak any Spanish at the time, so it was difficult to communicate with his family, but we managed to get by with big gestures and a lot of Google Translate. I also tried new foods for the first time, such as the Spanish Jamón. If I’m going to be honest, I was totally disgusted when my friend first said “Here, try this, it’s a delicacy here in Spain” while he continued to shave a piece of ham off of the pig’s leg mounted in the dining room. Little did I know that three years later I would be buying jamón by the kilo every time I was able to visit Spain. What I also didn’t realize was the lasting impact this little trip would have on me… I was totally addicted– to Europe and to traveling!
During my last year of college, in 2011, I had another chance to go back to Europe through study abroad. Since I already knew the country a little bit, I decided to go to Granada, Spain. The first day there I had culture shock x10. I didn’t know anyone and was in a strange place where I could barely say hello. By the second day, however, my eyes had been opened to magic that is Spain once again. I made amazing friends and shared great experiences– kayaking in the cliffs in Algarve, Portugal, hanging out with the monkeys in Gibraltar, drinking Glühwein at the Christmas market in Frankfurt, Germany and eating delicious pizza in Florence, Italy to name a few. I also had the opportunity to begin learning Spanish, a skill that has tremendously helped me thus far, even though I’m still learning! Plus, Granada has totally amazing tapas, so I also managed to broaden my food horizon quite a bit. Safe to say by the end of my time in Granada, wanderlust had taken over!
I managed to get a placement as an auxiliar de conversacion, in other words an assistant language teacher, in Madrid, Spain. Teaching English was really fun, the kids were great and it gave me the free time and the funds to continue my traveling. I got to explore even more countries during this time including and epic road trip through the Balkans and Greece with three other friends.
Currently, I call Germany home. This is where I am working towards my Master’s degree, which doesn’t give me so much time (or funds) to travel, but I try to sneak in trips where- and whenever I can. My Master program is full of international students, which is the perfect opportunity to meet tons of new people from all over the world and explore my own German backyard!
This site is about sharing experiences, whether they are mine or yours, so please feel free to contribute!