Becoming a Local in Pamplona

Guest Post By: Samantha Schrantz, a Senior. She studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, during Autumn Semester 2022.

During my time in Spain, I learned so much about the language, the culture, the people I was surrounded by, and myself. And while I didn’t travel nearly as much as I could have, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My time abroad wasn’t earth-shattering, and it wasn’t glamorous, but it was exactly the experience I had craved. It was life—just in another country. 

Sure, I still had the chance to take excursions on the weekends, or a few overnight trips here and there, but for the most part, I tried to live like a local. Pamplona is a relatively small city, at least compared to Seattle, but I still took time to explore locally. Just by walking around, I discovered festivals, street fairs, parks, architecture, and more. Pamplona might be small, but it is truly a vibrant community.

If you have the chance, I highly encourage you to explore your local area while on exchange. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fun to fly to new cities or take the train hours away to see world-class attractions. But try being a tourist in your own town and see where it takes you. Discover the small villages, the local cuisines, and regional expressions that make you feel like you’ve put down some roots.

Whatever your style of travel, or whether you prefer big cities or rural towns, it’s absolutely worth spending several months in another country to truly get a feel for the place!