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### Lessons Learned as an Edi Student During Year Abroad in Spain: Sun, Studies, and Sangria

Yes, the gossip is indeed accurate, the alcohol is genuinely that affordable.

Upon commencing my final semester of the second year, I experienced a blend of nervousness and excitement as I prepared for my upcoming year abroad. Little did I know how profoundly these experiences would contribute to my personal growth and broaden my perspectives.

One key lesson I learned is the immense value of traveling and immersing oneself in a foreign culture. I wholeheartedly advocate for students to participate in study abroad programs and fully embrace the journey.

Outlined below are the top five insights I gained during my time abroad:

1. The Absence of a Perfect Living Environment

While studying abroad offers enriching experiences, it does not eliminate life’s challenges, as each country has its own set of drawbacks. In Edinburgh, I admire the stunning architecture and rich history, but I also face the high cost of living and the gloomy weather.

In Spain, I savor the diverse and delectable cuisine along with the clear blue skies, yet I encounter bureaucratic hurdles and unconventional business hours. This realization empowered me to contemplate different lifestyles and consider which culture aligns best with my future aspirations.

2. The Fast-Paced Lifestyle in the UK

Returning to the UK, I noticed the perpetual hustle and bustle, where efficiency and productivity reign supreme, leaving little room for self-care. In contrast, the middle-sized city in Spain where I resided exuded a more laid-back atmosphere, emphasizing rest and relaxation through the siesta tradition.

Adjusting to this slower pace was initially challenging, but I gradually embraced the focus on well-being and work-life balance, values I aim to incorporate upon my return to Edinburgh.

3. The Influence of Climate on Culture

My time in Edinburgh taught me to expect the unexpected, with the city experiencing multiple seasons in a single day. Transitioning from Scotland’s unpredictable weather to Spain’s sunny climate was truly eye-opening. Swapping layers for shorts daily was a refreshing change, and the chilly evenings in Cowgate felt like a distant memory.

The weather shift provided unique opportunities for social connections. Public spaces became communal gathering spots, with friends congregating at beaches and parks. This contrasted with Edinburgh, where outdoor socializing was less common.

Living in Spain underscored how climate shapes culture. The sunny skies encouraged a more outward-facing lifestyle, fostering community interactions in open settings. Conversely, Edinburgh’s erratic weather cultivated a sense of community centered around cozy cafes and intimate gatherings. I came to appreciate how weather influences social norms and behaviors, enriching my cultural experiences.

4. Embracing the Spanish Nightlife

During my stay in Spain, I encountered a vibrant nightlife scene distinct from Edinburgh’s. While Boteco reigns as Edinburgh’s top reggaeton club, Spain offers a plethora of venues where you can dance to the tunes of Bad Bunny and La Rosalia until the early hours of the morning. Nights commence late, with club-goers arriving post-midnight and reveling until daybreak.

I vividly recall my astonishment when a bartender in Spain served what was labeled as a “single shot of vodka,” filling more than half the glass. It was a surprising introduction to the exuberant Spanish nightlife.

5. Coping with Homesickness Abroad

Scanning through social media posts of friends who embarked on their own year abroad journeys filled me with envy and longing. Their photos showcased breathtaking landscapes and tantalizing cuisine, fueling my anticipation for similar experiences and cultural enrichment.

However, I underestimated the waves of loneliness and homesickness that would wash over me—topics rarely discussed openly. Fortunately, avenues exist for connecting with fellow year abroad students through organized activities, fostering a sense of community and mutual support. Sharing these emotions with others provided solace, reminding me that my feelings were shared by many.

From the allure of Edinburgh to the vibrancy of Spain, my ongoing year abroad has deepened my appreciation for cultural diversity and the transformative impact of immersing oneself in a new cultural milieu. I eagerly anticipate the adventures that lie ahead in the coming months.