Hey, My name is Sarah, and I went to Spain on an exchange for the month of April in the year of my Transition year. I went to a town just outside Madrid called Galapagar. A town I quickly began to love. As soon as I arrived into Spain, any worries disappeared as my excitement was booming.
I was so lucky to have gotten such a generous and caring family that was so perfectly fit for me. I got on so well with them, I was more than delighted. I couldn't have been luckier. The Cordova family made my experience so much more enjoyable. I can't stress enough how kind and welcoming they were to me. They didn't feel like strangers to me at all.
I was expecting to be home sick and was so shocked at myself to say the least as not a day went by that I didn't love being away from home. I was a typical Irish person who packed a load of shorts, completely oblivious that Spanish don't wear shorts in April in an around that area of Spain for its not short worthy yet. I learned it the hard way but now know to be more prepared and inquire. This experience defiantly improved my Spanish and understanding of it, as the most difficult thing to grasp, was understanding what they were saying. It's completely different to learning it in school. Which is why I would highly recommend an exchange as you'll learn more in a month then you would learning it in a year at school. (Possibly all the three years I've been learning it.) School was different over there but once you start talking to others and put yourself out there by making the effort, everything becomes much more beneficial for yourself and better for those around you. You Make friends and have a great time.
While over there, I was still brought to the gym three times a week and given the freedom to train. My parents over there were so good to me! I also attended Zumba classes with the girl I was staying with, once a week. It was a great bonding session and a tough workout. I not only improved my Spanish, but I gained a new friend that I plan to keep for life and a new love for the Spanish people, cuisine, language and the country. I'm dying to return. I will now be hosting Mariana as she will be coming over to Ireland in August. I'm so excited and I hope she will enjoy the experience as much as I did which I'm sure she will. I will forever remember this experience, and only a single month. For me I found too short, I Would have loved to stay longer but before I left I didn't want to take the risk. I never thought I would have loved it so much. It was hard leaving for I become so close to those I lived with, and felt like a member of their family. I will be forever grateful to my Spanish family. I had an unbelievable time over there thanks to them. We visited many towns and landmarks. Even one of the Seven Wonders Of the World (the Monastery in El Escorial) Its amazing, what a perfectly fit family, enthusiasm and an open mind can make you achieve and have the time of your life. I also made an Irish friend over there and we rarely crossed paths but when we did we had great chats comparing our experiences, and like me she was extremely lucky with her family and was loving the experience just as much as myself. It was good to know I wasn't the only person struggling at the beginning but slowly noticed my own improvement. BEST EXPERIENCE I could have hoped for and I learned many life lessons along the way about traveling alone etc.
Not a single bad thing I could say. I was so lucky to have experienced it the way I did. No regrets.

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