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¡Hola España! Living and learning in Granada, Spain

As I disembarked from a tiny plane that had just travelled 45 minutes from Madrid, I arrived in Granada, the place that I would call home for the next 3 weeks. Having just travelled for more than 28 hours I was welcomed by a fresh cool breeze, unsurprising given that it was in the middle of the European winter.

I remember feeling very excited and slightly aprehensive as over the coming days and weeks I would be completely immersed within Spanish language, culture and society and I undertook an intensive Spanish course at the Universidad de Granada.

While I understood that I would be communicating solely in Spanish in the classroom, I did not have a prior understanding as to how much I would be speaking outside of the classroom. To my surprise, delight and slight concern I would come to realise that the family that would host me during my time in Spain, spoke very little English, meaning that our conversations were solely in Spanish.

While this scared me at first as I hadn’t properly spoken Spanish since last at Uni in November I was quickly surprised by my ability to communicate with my host family about a range of diverse topics and ideas. My host family was a single mum who is a freelance artist, with a studio close to where my classes were held.

Huerta de Los Angeles – the building where my classes were located

As I am sure is synonymous with the experiences of most people who are learning languages, it is scary when you think that you should always be using the correct grammar and conjugations of verbs that you have learnt when in the midst of real life conversations. However, as I quickly found, while it is of course important to try and use the correct conjugations of verbs, for the most part, grammatical mistakes here and there do not significantly impact on a meaningful conversation.

This realisation was just one of many during my trip to Granada, and I am sure over time I will come to realise further how seemingly mundane experiences have helped to shape my overall experience. I have come back to Sydney looking forward to future international opportunities available through Uni (including my ICS next year to Colombia), as well as utilising a wealth of new skills and outlooks.

Written by Yasmin Johnston.

At La Alhambra, a palace inspired by Islamic architecture

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