“Que no hay en la vida nada como la pena de ser ciego en Granada”- Francisco A. de Icaza

“There is no greater sorrow in life than to be blind in Granada”

Study abroad was something that I knew I wanted to be a part of my college experience. With a minor in Spanish and a strong desire to learn the language, a Spanish speaking country only made sense. I had already travelled to some places in Latin America, but had never been to Europe. For this reason, I decided on Spain.

I studied in Granada, Spain for one semester. I could not be more pleased with my decision to study in Granada. Granada is a beautiful mixture of Arab and Spanish culture. It is nicknamed “the city of free tapas.” It is located within a one hour drive of the snowy mountains and the warm beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. It was the perfect city to for me to study abroad. The beauty of Granada was only part of what made me fall in love with the city. The other part was the people. I had a host mother that treated me like I was just another one of her five daughters. She patiently listened to me struggle with Spanish the first few weeks and cooked the most incredible dishes every day. I had teachers and advisors that invested in me and gave me besos (kisses) with every encounter. Additionally, I taught a class of Spaniards who wanted to learn English and even got plugged into a church community in Granada.

I learned so many things about myself, Spain, and about my own culture while studying abroad. I have two favorite lessons. First, the importance of a slow life. In Spain, everyone comes home for lunch and siesta. All the shops and schools close for about four hours in the middle of the day. Aside from this, my host mom would stand in line to buy fresh bread every day. In Granada people walk everywhere. The pace of life is slow with a “no pasa nada” attitude. Meaning, don’t worry about anything. Additionally, I learned how humbling it is to learn a language. Being a university student, we are put into classes with subjects that we have a base knowledge of and have been studying for years. It is a humbling and beautiful experience to not be able to communicate with ease. It is something I think every person should experience and with this maybe we can become more compassionate people.

Learning these lessons, along with so many more, is only a portion of what made my experience so special. I experienced new things like flamenco shows and fresh jamón. I made new friends and family. I improved my Spanish tremendously and learned the importance of siesta time.

When I left for Spain, I did not know what to expect. I knew that I was excited and scared. The idea of moving across the Atlantic Ocean being thousands of miles and many time zones away from your family and friends is terrifying. While terrifying, it is the most incredible experience and will truly be life changing. I am thankful for my experience and will always reflect fondly on my time in Granada, Spain.

Kayla Massey is majoring in Management and spent the Fall 2019 semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain through API. Kayla had the following to say about studying abroad, “I loved my study abroad experience. I see the world through new lenses now. I would encourage every college student to study abroad. You will never have opportunities like this again, so take advantage of them now!”

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