It has been two weeks since I left UConn Nation for the University of Salamanca and to say I miss home is an understatement.
I miss the late nights procrastinating responsibilities with my roommate and the wind tunnel I trudged through to get to Oak Hall. I miss the frigid night air that involuntarily brought me to tears whilst walking to the Union for the WHUS news meeting every Thursday. It is high time I find my home here in Salamanca.
Before you begin to worry about my wellbeing, no, I am not homeless. I have the apartment of my dreams with three incredible roommates (one who happens to be gluten-free as well!) to keep me company. I’ve made friends to last a lifetime and on the outside, everything is pretty perfect.
They say that the first two weeks of living in a different country are the hardest. You would think the six-hours-ahead time adjustment and partial language barrier would be the most difficult things to get passed—you would be incorrect. I honestly just miss home. But every single day, I try to find something or do something that makes me feel more at home.
Whether it is finding a tranquilo section of a park to watch the swans and study or grocery shopping at Carrefour and picking up ingredients for homemade tomato sauce, it is the little things that remind me of home that get me through the days.
Instead of succumbing to a seemingly inevitable culture shock, find the similarities between your culture and the one you have immersed yourself in. I have noticed that people in Salamanca love to clothing shop and I was practically raised in the clearance section of Macy’s.
Jamón, better known as ham in the United States, is a staple of the Salamancan diet here and I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (which I do). And the night life here is absolutely thrilling. I can’t be doing tarea all the time!
Once you take that crucial step towards bridging the gap between your home and your new home, things become easier. Routine sets in and before you know it, two weeks have gone by and you’ve already planned a trip to Paris! When things are unfamiliar and new, find your little bit of home—it will make the biggest difference.