April 3, 2014, by Guest blog
Making strong connections with the culture and people
Firstly, I’m going to comment on the friends I have made here during my year abroad and my intention to stay in contact with them following the programme. Before arriving the thing that most scared me was the idea that I would not settle in because I wouldn’t have any friends around me. This now, seven months later, seems a bizarre and stupid thought to have had. I have made very strong connections here with regards to close friends with whom I have experienced one of the best periods of my life.
I have a group of American friends from a similar programme to me and they are the people who I have travelled with during the year. Despite varying in ages from 21 to 39 we get on incredibly well, and we have from the start of our adventure. I have learnt a lot about the American culture and language from them, considering I have never visited the US before.
I also have a group of Spanish friends many of whom became firm friends after sharing Thanksgiving with us. We have spent a lot of time together, Christmas celebrations, relaxing evenings at one person’s house or a drink in the local café. We have all helped each other grow as individuals and especially with our language capabilities.
I hope to maintain contact for years to come. Additionally, these friends have helped me to build international connections which I hope will give me the opportunity to make a return visit to Barbate and travel to America.
Secondly, my time at work in the Primary School has given me invaluable experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching the students and I will be sad to say goodbye to them all after watching them grow over the course of the year. I hope to maintain a good link with the school after I leave. In the future it is one of my options to become a teacher therefore I hope to stay connected to the school and I may need to ask for a reference at some point. Additionally, I have made a couple of close friends at the school and they would happily give me advice about teaching in the future.
Thirdly, Spain itself has given me such wonderful memories and I feel that I have made a strong connection with the culture and the people and that possibly in a few years I will return to live here again. Adapting to life in England after Spain will not be difficult due to the lack of radically different cultural features; however there will definitely be things which I will miss and will be very hard to forget.
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