Because of Big Freakout #1, I now have a better understanding of what not to do and what to do upon the first few days of your arrival. It’s been an interesting week and some days here, but I am very happy with the way things have turned out! To fill you in about my life a bit:
- I have a home!! I’m not homeless!!
- I currently have three roommates (two my age, and one is 29)
- I’ve started classes at the primary school (:
- I’ve also learned that I am placed in a second school, an adult learning center, where I will, unfortunately, need to divide my 12hr work weeks
- My Spanish is improving, slowly…
- I’ve made friends!! Kindof… Mostly my roommate’s friends, but also with other auxiliaries in the town who are from the UK
- This past weekend, I learned what it was like to party the Spaniard way… Marathon drinking starting at 12/1pm, staying up dancing until 8am, and then sleeping until 2pm the next day – WOW.
I’m happy and I’m feeling more and more like I belong here. Minus the fact that interacting with the local people of Torrijos is still a challenge to me… I’m slowly… very slowly, getting over the fear of speaking and practicing my Spanish. It definitely helps that I live with two native speakers and have met and am usually surrounded by Spaniards. I can’t complain though, I came here to improve my Spanish, work, and meet different people! There’s no use for me to be around English speakers THAT often.
Anyways, from my own experience, I’ve compiled a list of 5 things you should do (
or maybe not do) when you first arrive in Spain as an auxiliary:
- Get a pitcher of sangria and small plate of jamón iberico and relax… You’ve just arrived in SPAIN!!
- Purchase yourself a Spanish SIM card
Prepaid cards are relatively easy to buy here as long as you have your passport and your phone is “unlocked” and can be used with different SIM cards. Some of the carriers are: Orange, Vodafone, Movistar, etc. I went with Orange and I can’t really complain – and my SIM card for 1GB of data a month was about €15/20? If you use all of your data or your minutes, you can always go to your phone carrier, and ask to recharge it for €10/15.
- Get in contact with your school first and meet them as soon as possible!!
Don’t be like me, who tried to do everything herself the first five days upon being in Spain. It was like shooting in the dark and consistently missing my target. It was even worse because most of the time I was scared of speaking Spanish and everywhere I went, no one really spoke English. So, GET IN CONTACT WITH YOUR SCHOOL FIRST!! I definitely should have done that, because after meeting with them and talking to them, they’re extremely willing to help me and make sure that I feel comfortable. They’re even helping me with my paperwork, bank accounts, and offering their homes to me if I ever need anything or want to feel comforted. It’s been a much smoother ride here after asking for their help.
- Live with a native speaker, if possible.
If you’re here to improve your Spanish, I would recommend living with a native Spanish speaker. I know it may be a bit more awkward/uncomfortable – but it’ll be a big help! I knew I wanted to live with someone who spoke Spanish. It’s been so great living with my roommates now! (: I’ve been practicing Spanish every day and we are constantly learning and exchanging information about each other’s language. It’s also a plus that I’ve met most of one of my roommate’s friends, who are all Spaniards and don’t speak too much English.
- Don’t listen to my advice… Because, after all, these are all things that worked for me or didn’t work for me!
Y’all can take my suggestions with a grain of salt. I figured out what works and what doesn’t work for me, what I want, and what I don’t want. You’re in SPAIN!! Make this your own experience, just make sure you make the most of it and take opportunities to make yourself feel uncomfortable (in a good way) so that you grow (: