Hi! I’m Grace. Last year (2018) I went to Spain for 10 weeks to learn Spanish, but on reflection, I learned so much more than that. I stayed in a lovely little Spanish town called Moguer, just 40 minutes outside of Seville. My host family were amazing and helped me so much with my limited level of Spanish. A Norwegian student was also living in the house – we were like sisters!

By the river in Seville

Coming home from Spain I had learned Spanish and some Norwegian and I was happy knowing that I had taught my family and friends some Irish. Speaking of my friends, they were amazing too. They took me under their wing from day one onwards and consistently included me and helped me enjoy my time abroad. I am still in contact with them today and I know that they will be lifelong friends, despite the distance between us.

My friends and I in Huelva

Improving my Spanish has helped me so much since returning to Ireland. I now excel in Spanish class and have a desire to study languages in college. Apart from the language side of things, going to Spain taught me lots. I learned how to be independent, how to correctly interact with people of different cultures and I also learned how to appreciate the differences between Ireland and Spain.

My host mother Cristina, my house sister Tuva and I at a famous church in El Rocío

I had ample time to reflect when I was over in Spain, which taught me a lot about myself personally. I am now much more confident and I am extremely comfortable in my own skin. It was a euphoric, life-changing adventure and hands down the most fulfilling experience I have had in my life thus far. The opportunity to travel and explore Seville and other Spanish towns and cities was amazing, it was like 10 holidays rolled into one.

At my going-away party in Moguer with all of my friends

When my time came to leave Spain, I was so upset. The only thing that made me want to return home was my eagerness to show off my new Mediterranean skin tone to my Irish friends :-).  If you are deliberating whether or not going abroad is for you, trust me, it is. It is an undeniably amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity – grab it while you can!

In La Rábida with a Norwegian student, Sunnivaleonora