The halfway point of my semester in Madrid has now come and gone, and I thought it was a perfect time to think about how things have gone in the past two months. While it has not always been easy transitioning into a country with a different language and culture, there has never been a dull moment here.

The first thing I’ve come to appreciate was the independence that is built abroad. There have been times where I’ve been traveling, either to another country or to the grocery store or somewhere else in the city, and things are not going as planned. Whether it is dealing with a language barrier, a new transit system, or just directions, I quickly learned that I have no option other than to think and figure things out for myself. For example, in Italy, my friends and I learned that we made poor travel arrangements logistically, and we needed to think on the fly in order to get ourselves home. I have no mom or anyone to be calling over here for a quick fix, it is myself and some friends that are in the same boat of not knowing what the heck is going on, but we better figure something out or we aren’t getting home!

That brings me to the next aspect of abroad I am so appreciative of: my new friends. I wrote in my previous post that I was excited to meet the students I’d be studying with because I feel it takes quite a personality to study abroad, so I thought I’d meet some crazy characters and make some genuine friends. I was absolutely correct. Through my program, ISA, I’ve met peers from all over the U.S. and I’ve had the honor of going on some freakin’ adventures with them! I also am living in a ‘residencia,’ similar to a dorm. In this dorm there are approximately 150 other students from all over the world, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of them, get to know them, and learn about their home countries. I arrived in Madrid thinking I’d be making new friends from the States, which proved to be true. What I didn’t expect, though, was that I’m now here in Madrid with new friends from all over. We hang out with an amazing group of ladies from Australia, I’ve got my boys Marcel and Luca from Germany, my amigo Rafa from Spain (Now he is a hoot), and many more. Things like this just blow my mind. It is because of these amazing people and amazing places that my time here has been flying, it’s a blessing and a curse! I feel like I just arrived still.

Finally, having the opportunity to so easily travel has been something I appreciate most of all. Some countries are closer to each other here than states are at home in the U.S., so travel has been on the easier side (with only a few audibles needing to be called so far). My friends and I have traveled Spain, exploring places like Toledo, Salamanca, Cercedilla, and Aranjuez, while also traveling abroad to places like Italy, Germany, Netherlands, and England. In all of these places, it has been amazing to observe the everyday activities and mannerisms of the people, while also exploring and learning about where the country came from and what makes it unique.

Time has been flying by these previous two months, and I do not anticipate it’ll slow down any time soon.