I guess I'll start out with the cons so this gradually gets more cheery as I go along.
- Biggest difference between this semester and the last one is that my squad left. My dance partners, the people I had travelled the world with, watched Real Madrid games with, eaten all the food and drank all the tinto de verano with aren't here anymore. The city is not the same without them, and I love to remind them every day through Snapchat that they should have stayed the year.
- Funding is not what it used to be. I travelled to 6 countries last semester, which was 100% worth it. However, it also means that this semester I actually have to be aware of how much I'm spending on a week to week basis.
- Because funds are lacking, my nightlife now mostly consists of Netflix or chatting with my host family.
- I've become far too accustomed to living the Madrid life; I'm always late to everything, I spend most of my day eating, drinking wine, and napping. The longest paper I've had to write in the past 6 months was 2 pages. For now, this can be considered a pro, but the reverse culture-shock is going to bite me in the batookey as soon as I land back on US soil.
- No Chick-fil-a
Onward to happier things! The pros:
- My host family and I have become so much more close this semester. Last semester, I spent so much time out with my friends and travelling that I didn't really spend too much time with them. This semester we watch the wonderfully creepy reality TV show Gran Hermano together, and I have cancelled plans multiple times just to spend more time with them (sorry Trenton and Sena).
- My Spanish has improved beyond what my expectations were when I arrived and I still have 3 months to go! I've finally gotten past the point of learning new grammar and am now able to focus on applying what I've learned when I speak and write. Quite a few times, I've had to look up the definition in English of some of the vocab I've learned.
- More time to travel: I have trips planned to Italy, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Pamplona, and Valencia this semester and I cannot wait!
- Julio and Carlos- the best program directors to ever exist
- More time to explore: I spend most of my time now wandering around the city. I've also become more aware of the cultural activities and have now been to a Spanish Improv theater as well as learned to dance bachata.
- I'm at the point where sometimes I need to remind myself I'm in Madrid because everything has become so routine. I've also learned that reminding yourself that you are in a foreign country does wonders for improving bad moods. I may be in a bad mood sometimes, but hey, at least I'm in Spain!
- Paella, croquetas, churros, tinto de verano, fuet, and tortilla- those things alone are worth the extra semester