Expatriation is a wonderful experience and a unique chance in life. Going abroad for the studies is something rewarding both on personal and academic sides. Indeed, it teaches us how to manage daily life on our own and makes us discover a new way of life whose culture we have to adapt. That's why before relating this experience I have lived, I would like to thanks IPAG Business School for giving me this opportunity.
I have always wanted to live in a foreign country because I have always been attracted by other cultures and foreigners, and the differences that could exist between us. In fact, despite my shyness, I am very outgoing when meeting foreigners.
But even if I had been waiting this moment for so long, I felt mixed feelings when I knew I was about to go. On the one hand, I was very excited and couldn't wait to live this adventure, but on the other I was scared too because I had never lived by my side and I didn't know how I would feel without seeing my family and friends for all this time, and first of all because I was very useless in Spanish. I had a huge lack of vocabulary (even the basic one) and I didn't know how things would be there, if I would be able to manage and overcome the obstacles I would met. This was reinforced by the fact that no one else from IPAG was going there too, so I knew once there, I would have nothing to relate to if I had a problem.
And inevitably, I encountered difficulties, but I had no choice than find a way to settle them. I learned to get by despite the barrier of the language, which as not simple at all at the beginning, but through the time, I dealt better and better with the problems I met.
During this semester in Spain, I noticed my differences from what I used to see and live with in France, as for the daily life aspect than the university aspect.
As for the daily life, it is much more different from the French one. Firstly, days are not organized the same, especially for the meals. For example, they use to lunch at 2pm and the have dinner at 10 or 11pm which seems very late for me. Secondly, due to this gap, it was not rare to see kids out at 11pm whereas it was a Wednesday night and there was school the following day. Also, I think that people enjoy more life here, they are always outside, even the elderly, which I think is nice and good, because better to see them here than in retirement homes. And globally, life is cheaper here.
Concerning the university side, I have remarked students can choose the subject they want to follow, and classrooms are organized in small amphitheaters. Depending on the teacher, classes may be separate into "theoretical" and "practical" classes, or they can be mixed, with no real differences.
I envoyed to discover this new culture, however, it is not the only one I learned things about. Indeed, many other international students were there, coming from all around the world. I met Germans, Italians, Irishes, Polishes, Japaneses, Chineses, Mexicans, Americans, and so on ! And even if I met French students too, I was most of the time with other nationalities, and it was awesome to have this kind of "melting pot" and this mix of languages, going from Spanish to English, passing by few words in Japanese or German !
A funny thing is that due to that, I began to think in other languages without remarking it and I could tell a sentence with three languages in it like if it was normal ! And sometimes I couldn't find my words in my own language and I had think about it to find it back.
Thanks to this experience, I have really improved my speaking, especially in Spanish, and I have made friends from all around the world. O f course we will keep in touch and I hope to see them back soon.