Why am I choosing to go to Spain?
This is a question I’ve been getting a lot, and while I was first annoyed by having to answer it because my initial response was why not? I now think it’s those who have asked who are getting annoyed because I could talk for hours about why I’m choosing Spain.
On the surface it’s the tapas, siestas, no pasa nada lifestyle, endless sunshine, and, of course, la marcha. However, underneath that Spain is so much more.
As many of you know, I’ve been to Spain before…twice. One time in high school and one time while studying abroad in college. However, after sitting in my cubicle day after day, after day I found myself longing for a return. A return to traveling. A return to adventure. A return to what I love.
In looking for what this adventure should be, I eventually settled down on teaching abroad, and after researching multiple programs in multiple cities, I chose Spain. There was something that continued to call me back to Spain even though the teaching program there isn’t the best one out there and has plenty of well documented problems. Liz of Young Adventuress is one of many bloggers out there to shed some light on a few of the problems, in case you were curious.
From my previous time in Spain I learned that the Spanish culture was full of life. As one of my professors there once put it to me, “In Spain, people work to live, while elsewhere, people live to work.” This stuck with me and is a completely true statement. In my experience, most Spaniards are incredibly friendly, joyful, and enjoy living life in the moment. I find that personally this balances out all the backwards bureaucracy and long lines, even though that can be annoying at times. I love their culture for having this attitude, and while American culture may follow a different path, I find the Spanish one much more enjoyable. Life is about living it and not just working as hard as you can so you will be able to (maybe) live it later.
The country as a whole is incredibly diverse, from the north to the south and everywhere in between. Geographically, yes, Spain is one country on the Iberian peninsula. However, within the country there are many different traditions, food, and even languages. I find it all very interesting that in this small country there is so much diversity. Each part of the country has its own unique characteristics, yet are similarly bound together through commonalities.
When I studied abroad I lived in Granada and truly was able to explore a lot of what Andalucia has to offer, but I was also afforded the opportunity to visit the Basque country of northern Spain as well as many other places in between too. However, there are many parts of Spain that I have still yet to discover that I need to and plan to this upcoming year. I’m sure that every country has its own diversity, but for some reason Spain’s has reached out and intrigued me more than that of others…at least for now.
Spanish. The language of Spain grabbed a hold of me back in the 7th grade and hasn’t let go. Although, I’m not even close to being fluent the language still calls me and makes me want to learn it all. I’m really looking forward to becoming close to fluent, if not totally fluent, during my time in Spain.
For a while in college, I lost my love of Spanish. My first semester I dropped out of my Spanish class because I wasn’t doing too well. A couple major changes later(in reality this was about 10), I realized that I could either take another science lab course or take Spanish. I obviously opted for Spanish as I figured I’d remember a basic enough level of Spanish from high school to get through the class. However, I wasn’t expecting the class to pull me in and make me fall in love with the Spanish language again, which is definitely what it did. Long story short, I ended up taking another semester and choosing to study abroad in Granada. Now three years later, I am choosing to go back to Spain partially because of the language in which I find so romantic, compelling, and stimulating.
I chose Spain for my own reasons, and can hardly wait to go. In the end, everyone will choose the country of their choice for their own reasons too, and there is no wrong answer. From my own experiences, I can’t find one person who has ever been to Spain and not enjoyed it or wanted to return. There’s something simply alive when it comes to this country and I cannot put my finger on one specific thing, but it truly does call to me.
Why did you choose to travel or live abroad where you are? Have you ever been to Spain? What is it that you love or hate about it? Would you like to return someday?