April, 2012

Arriving in Pamplona

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

By: Nicholas Jaeger, Foster Undergraduate

Almost 23 hours after leaving SeaTac, I arrived in Pamplona, Spain. I wouldn’t say that I had a difficult time when I first got to Pamplona, but it was definitely a little challenging for me. It was recommended that I spend some time looking online for a place to live before leaving for Spain, but that I should wait until I get there to choose my place and roommates. I got to Pamplona about 5 days before the International Student Orientation, so I lived in a hostel for that time, which was a little expensive. By day 3, I was getting bored because I didn’t know anyone at the time, so I just walked the city each day and discovered new places. The first thing that I noticed in Pamplona was that people there really don’t speak any English. I had studied some Spanish, but it had been 2 years since I had any classes, so it was very hard for me to communicate at first.

After that first weekend it was time for orientation, which I really enjoyed. I had a chance to meet lots of people from all over the world. Also, on the second day of orientation, there was an organized trip to the northern beach city of San Sebastian. Looking back on all my travels in Spain, I think that San Sebastian was one of the nicest places I visited. Anyway, on this day trip I got to go in the ocean on a very hot day. There is also a large statue of Jesus overlooking the city, similar to the one in Rio de Janiero. You can hike up to the top of the hill that the statue is on, and this is something that I would definitely recommend doing. After returning from San Sebastian, I finally moved into my apartment, which was very nice because I was tired of living out of my suitcase in the hostel.

Anyway, the first week was somewhat of an adjustment period, but it wasn’t that bad. I had a great time meeting people and seeing new places. From that point on, studying abroad in Pamplona was the best time of my life. The Universidad de Navarra is a great school, although class scheduling is strange/difficult, and I really liked the city of Pamplona. In fact, I am very happy that the Foster exchange program takes place in a smaller city like Pamplona. It is not very touristy, so you are forced to use a lot more Spanish then you would in a bigger city like Barcelona or Madrid.