¡Hola! My name is Adrienne and I am a junior and Spanish major studying in Granada, Spain. For a long time now, my dream has been to live in Europe, learn the Spanish culture, and travel, travel, travel. Well, here I am sitting on my Spanish bed in my Spanish apartment gearing up to tell you all about it! So, here we go…
Before I left to study abroad, everyone back home kept asking me, “So, where are you going?!” Whenever I told them about Granada, they always looked a little disappointed to hear that I wouldn’t be spending the next five months in cities like Barcelona, Salamanca, or Madrid. It’s almost as if these people thought that since I wasn’t going to one of the “major” cities of Spain, I wouldn’t enjoy myself as much, or get as much out of the experience as I should. Well, I am happy to report that this assumption could not be further from the truth, and here’s why:
1. Language…you’ll use it.
My number one reason for studying abroad in a smaller city was to become more fluent with my Spanish. Before choosing Granada, I had heard that in many of the larger cities of Spain, English was widely spoken. I wanted to go somewhere where I would have to struggle. Well, let me tell you, Granada has made me struggle (in a good way). And not only struggle, but work for every single need or desire that I have. For example, when I first arrived in Granada, I needed to buy a power strip in order to charge my computer and cellphone. Now, I barely know how to describe a power strip to someone in English, much less in Spanish! But, after a few tries, I finally found where to buy a power strip, and today, all of my things are fully charged! In a bigger city, this would have been much easier, but in Granada, I worked hard for what I wanted to achieve, and I definitely appreciate my little european surge protector a little more.
2. Culture…you’ll experience it.
Even in a small town like Granada, there is never a dull moment or a reason to be bored. Whether it be watching street performers, getting lost in one of the winding streets of the Albayzín district, or sitting down for churros with friends, culture surrounds you! Once again, it all comes down to authenticity. In a bigger city, I feared being swallowed up by Americanized events that might take away from my Spanish experience. In Granada, the opposite is true; I feel like I’m becoming a true Granadina!
3. Environment…you’ll learn it.
A smaller city is easier to grasp. Not only that, but it’s easier to master. I’ve only been in Granada for about a month and a half, and I already know how to navigate my way through the city, and in multiple ways! I think that by the end of this journey, Granada will feel like a second home.
Of course big cities are wonderful as well! Anywhere you choose to study abroad is bound to be fantastic, and you are bound to have the experience of a lifetime! Just remember, when choosing where you would like to study abroad, don’t look past the smaller cities just because they are less well known. Study abroad is not a popularity contest! Some of the best places in Europe are hidden treasures just waiting to be found! I am so glad that I chose to study abroad in Granada, Spain, and I cannot wait to see what the next few months have in store for me…