Language students at university - your year abroad

Posted by:
July 20, 2020
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“That time I packed all my belongings into two suitcases and arrived alone in this small city after midnight.”

Our Founder Drew shares memories of her experience living abroad to study in Spain for a year. Even with all its challenges, she would definitely recommend all language students to give a year abroad a go.

"For language students at uni who are about to start their year abroad, there’s tons of thoughts running through your mind before you move to a new country.

I’m rewinding aaaall the way back to my experience when I lived in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain on my year abroad at uni. I know that Spanish A level was never going to teach me Spanish like living there. I was 20, packed all my belongings into two suitcases and arrived alone in this small city after midnight. I had nowhere to live apart from the first night in a hotel and knew hardly anything about the place. Of course, I’d been to Spain to but the Costas are a bit different!

Nothing prepares you for living, studying and working abroad like your year out. I *really* got to know Spain (and not just the good stuff). I experienced first-hand the realities of finding a place to live, making friends, the bureaucracy, how university in Spain is totally different.

On my first day I walked into the lecture room - hardly any students there, the lecturer didn’t show up and I discovered that my course involved max 5 hours of in-person tuition a week, and not many Spanish classes at all. So I decided to do things my own way: I travelled all around the North and East of Spain before ending up in Madrid via Bilbao. I picked places tourists didn’t usually go to like A Coruña, Leon, Oviedo and Burgos. I met random people along that route, lived like a local, soaked up so many life experiences and came back to the UK knowing that my take on languages would never be the same again.

Students who're moving abroad this year face more challenges such as Covid and Brexit but if you love languages, you'll always find a way.”