My Year Abroad

¡Welcome to Valencia!

I have arrived in Valencia!

The beach is beautiful, the sun is bright and I don’t think I’ve ever been so warm in my life. I’m currently in Cullera, a small town near Valencia, with my soon-to-be housemate Alex. I’m staying with her and her family and so far, it has been incredible. You can’t imagine how lucky I have been to end up in contact with Alex.

I had every intention of travelling alone to Spain, staying in a hostel and then trying to find somewhere to live. However, over the summer, whilst working in a hotel, one of the managers (and also one of my ex-Spanish teachers) told me that his niece was looking for another girl to share the flat she had rented in Valencia. I couldn’t believe my luck; Alex is the same age as me and is going to be studying minutes away from where I have my law lectures. So, on the 20th of August I left my parents at East Midlands Airport and began a much easier journey than the one I planned when I booked my flight.

Alex lives is Cullera, a small town that is a short distance from Valencia. Her Uncle invited me to stay at her family house for two days but, as they didn’t want me to be alone in the flat, I have been invited to stay until my course starts.

After being picked up from the airport by Alex and her parents, we went straight to her house. They only have two bedrooms, Alex’s and her parents, and after knowing Alex for only a few hours I ended my first night sleeping beside her in her double bed.

Alex speaks some English but we only speak in Spanish, apart from the occasional word when I’m struggling with something and she knows the translation. I think we’re going to be excellent friends and I’m glad she’s so friendly and chatty. By day four we had done almost all I had dreamed of doing, we’d shopped, been to the beach and even visited a pool in a complex where one of her friends lives.

I am very, very thankful to Alex and her parents for allowing me to stay with them. Above all, Alex has been excellent in letting me tag along with her whenever she goes somewhere. Her family have been amazing. They’ve paid for my meals when I’ve been invited to eat out with them, they’ve cooked for me, and have made such an amazing effort to make me feel welcome and help me improve my Spanish.

Quite a few  of Alex’s friends have asked me what I like most about Cullera and I stand by the answer I first gave when someone asked me the question; the family-orientated culture that the town possess is incredible. Alex’s family all have houses within 5 minutes of each other and without warning the randomly agree to meet somewhere for breakfast within the next ten minutes. Everyone, from Alex’s great grandma to her nephew all meet if they’re available and just spend time talking to each other. As a guest in their house, I’ve always been invited to join them and have loved feeling like an extra cousin in this wonderful family.

A year abroad comes with many new experiences but also many challenges. It’s been an interesting week with lots of changes but I’m definitely enjoying everything Valencia has offered me so far!

My Year Abroad

Hasta luego querida​ amiga <3

Dear Leah,

I can’t believe that I have to leave you. I am almost waiting for you to ring me up, even if it’s right before I go, and tell me that you’ve changed courses and are now moving to Spain for a year to build upon your GCSE Spanish.

I can’t believe you’ll be gone when I get back. I cling to the fact that you’ll be applying for a master degree at Nottingham and be phoning me to tell me all about the arrangements we’ll have to make for yet another year of living together.

Has it really been two years since that day you arrived with your Mum, Dad, and Jess and decorated out your little shoe box of a room? Since the night we took that famous Broadgate Park photo in the photo booth with Josh, Bussey, and Paulina during the welcome talk? I almost cannot believe it but we’ve both changed so much that I guess that all that time must have passed. Anyhow, I think you’ve read enough of my essays for it to definitely feel like two years for you!

I can promise you Skype calls, cheap holidays to Valencia and my undying love for you but even these would not come close to amounting to all of the help, guidance, advice, and support that you have provided me with over these past two years.

Leah, you are my best friend and I truly do not know what I am going to do without you this year. You are the most selfless, bubbly, optimistic person I have ever met. The impression that you have  left upon my life is immeasurably large and ever growing. I have to admit it, sometimes I even feel a little sick when you call me your best friend because I still can’t comprehend that you actually like me that much.

I wish you all the best for your third year in Notts and I will see you very soon.

Katie x