Hey there! My name is Jen Yeh and I’m a junior studying accounting and international business. I’m currently in Pamplona, Spain at the University of Navarra for fall semester, and it has been unlike any experience I’ve ever had. Despite the nearly 22 hours of traveling, Alexa and I (the other exchange student from UW) arrived in Spain relatively hassle free. The weather here though at the end of August was humid and unbearably hot for us. So during the first few days of exploring, we nearly melted in the heat. We didn’t realize that the “siestas” between 2pm-4pm everyday, where most the stores are closed, was when everyone hid from the hottest part of the day.
As for my living situation, I had originally contacted two Spanish girls to live with, but after two weeks of trying to survive in a smoke-filled apartment, I had to move! Thankfully, I was able to find another apartment with two other Spanish girls who are much nicer, and somewhat more hygienic. The meal times… lunch is generally around 2pm and dinner around 9pm. At first that was somewhat difficult to adjust to, being use to eating lunch at 1130am and dinner at 530pm or 6pm! Pamplona itself is a fairly small city, but considered medium-sized in Spain. It’s a bit on the yellow side, but is also surrounded by mountains, and the Pyrenees Mountains are only a two-hour bus ride away. After running nearly all of Pamplona, I was able to find decent running by going towards the nearby towns, Cizur Menor and Cizur Mayor.
It really is incredible the amount of people I’ve met and gotten to know from all over the world. During the first day of orientation, there were people from Australia, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, China, Taiwan, Portugal, Ecuador, Mexico, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Korea, England, France, Brazil, Czech Republic, Canada, Thailand… the list goes on. It was crazy. Some of them had perfect English that I automatically thought they were American. We met at 10am and sat through information sessions for a few hours, had a gigantic pan of paella for lunch (which I couldn’t really eat since it consisted of chicken and a type of seafood that literally looked like snails..let’s just say Spain is not at all vegetarian friendly). Registering for classes was a bit more stressful. We spend the first few days going to classes we think we might be interested in and then we don’t actually solidify a schedule until a couple weeks later. But it works out in the end, even if it is a month later haha
Being in Europe has made me realize how multi-lingual everyone is. Nearly everyone is able to fluently speak two languages, at minimum. When Alexa and I traveled to Bordeaux, France, our waiter spoke English to us, Spanish to the table next to us, and French to another table. On a side note, the pace of life in Spain is definitely much slower, in contrast to the constant go go go attitude at UW and in the states. Anyhow, until then!