Getting Involved by Lauren Anderson

Before coming abroad, I never realized how much I valued having a routine and doing activities that keep me busy. While I am now fully adjusted, the slow and relaxed Spanish lifestyle was a huge change. During the adjustment period it is so important to find thing you love or even pick up new hobbies that you can enjoy in your host country and even bring back home with you!

My program, ISA (International Studies Abroad), gave us the opportunity to partner with local schools and assist in teaching English. Twice a week I volunteer in a classroom and help with three different age groups: 12 years, 6 years, and 4 years. Volunteering in the classroom was a great way for me to get involved and learn more about the Spanish education system, as well as bonding with the students! Joining school clubs and activities is also a great way to get involved and make the semester feel more normal. My host university offered so many amazing ways to get involved such as fĂștbol games, basketball tournaments, and conversation groups. The university also has an intercambio program, which allows international students to be paired with a local university student – this was an amazing way to meet locals and do activities that made you feel like a local. The Universidad Pablo de Olavide also hosted events such as blood drives, an 8K race that ran through campus and around the city, day trips to nearby historical sites, and so many other unique opportunities to make the semester so enjoyable.

It is so important to find things you love so that you do not get lost in all the changes around you. Change is good but can be scary at times! Take advantage of everything your host university has to offer! You never know who you will meet or if you may have just found your new favorite hobby! Embrace all the changes around you!

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