The Beginning of My Spanish Adventure

Guest Post By: Laura Bood, a Junior studying Finance, CISB, and Spanish. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, during Autumn Semester 2022.

The first day that I arrived in Pamplona, Spain I was coming from a weeklong trip to London with my twin sister. I entered the country through Bilbao, Spain as the airport in Pamplona is too small to fly directly into at low cost. I was flying in from another European country, but I would discover that my destination was going to be very different because of the language and culture. Immediately upon landing I was asked, in Spanish, for my COVID vaccination card and passport. It was the first time I had ever encountered a government institution whose operating language was not English. It seems like a small thing, but it filled me with a sense of wonder and gave me a sneak peek of what was to come farther along in the experience.

Once I arrived at my accommodations, I was sweaty and sleep deprived from the journey and tired from encountering some roadblocks from trying to use a whole new system of public transportation. But I sat down in my room and again looked around at the composition of things–completely different than I was used to. There was a clothesline outside the window. There was a bed that didn’t look like it fit into any particular American size category. There were shutters that operated with a belt system and a buzzer on the door. There was a washing machine in the kitchen.

These examples illustrate how even tiny details such as living space and composition can offer a growth experience. Living somewhere new is full immersion and it is exciting work, finding solutions to problems, and scrambling to make your new temporary home comfortable.

The next day was the incoming student orientation, which was a great way to meet both international and local students. My housing company (Campus Home) also puts on events such as a surfing outing to Zarautz or a day trip to the nearby beach city of San Sebastian. I signed up for all social events that I could and grew in my ability to learn about people and make friends. I am so grateful to have met so many people from different parts around the world and have the opportunity for more exciting adventures around Spain and the rest of Europe. I am excited to keep learning and experiencing more!