3 Best Tips for Studying Abroad in Spain

Programs for this blog post

Business + Culture

By: Avery Buckman

I have been abroad for a little over a month now and in just that little time I have been exposed to many new experiences and learned so many things. I am going to share with you the top 3 best things I have learned that I will hold onto for life and that have made my study abroad experience the best it can be. 

1. Step outside of your comfort zone. Studying abroad is such a unique experience and you are presented with so many new opportunities. In the beginning it can be overwhelming and scary to try these new things, but you gotta step outside of your comfort zone. I am living with a homestay family, and that alone forced me to step outside my comfort zone. I had to learn to communicate with my family in a language I didn't know, I was living with people I have never met before, and I was being made food that I never heard of before. At first this was scary, but I was pushed to try new things. I ate food I did not know what it was and ended up loving it, and I learned a new language so I could communicate with my host family and form a relationship with them. Abroad is full of so many opportunities that you want to take advantage of. If you don’t step outside your comfort zone, you will miss out on these new adventures. 

food spain

2. Branch out to meet new people. For me, I knew many people coming abroad. There are 25 kids from my school that are also in my program abroad. However, I wanted to meet new people. To do this, I decided to do a random roommate and introduced myself to anyone I could. Everyone is in the same situation and everyone wants to make friends. I have met people from different schools who know people I know which is always fun to talk about, but I have also met people who live in different countries. Meeting new people is such a huge part of studying abroad and makes the experience more fun.

spain friends abroad

3. Adapt to cultural norms. Jumping into a culture you are not familiar with can be difficult, but trying your best to adapt to the norms will only help you out. One difference I really had to get used to, and still am, is the eating times. I am used to eating lunch at noon and dinner around 6 or 7. In Spain, they eat lunch at 2:30 and dinner at 9:30. This was definitely something I had to get used to, but adapting to it makes me feel like I am starting to adjust to the lifestyle here. Also, here after lunch they have “siesta”. This is a time to lay down, watch tv or nap. I was not used to this break in the day, but I learned to adjust. Other cultural norms here I had to adjust to was staring, lack of personal space, tapas, and walking 10,000 plus steps a day. These are all major adjustments, but once I adapted I was able to fit into the Spain community and feel like a local. 

I have learned so much abroad and I am excited to learn more. I have been in so many exciting and new situations and adventures that I wouldn't trade for the world. I have so much planned for the rest of my time here that will push me but I am ready for what will be thrown in my direction.