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International Voices

Spain As a Life Philosophy

Anais Le-coz April 18, 2018

Para leer este artículo en español, haz click aquí.

Pour lire cet article en français, cliquez ici.

I believe there are always opportunities to discover ourselves. Moments that allow us to learn more about ourselves, to be sure of our values. It is thanks to those moments that we can go forward in peace when we feel doubtful or when we are faced with a tough decision. For me, this opportunity was my Erasmus semester. In case you don’t know Erasmus, it is a European program that allows European students to study abroad as part of their degree. I had the great privilege of doing my Erasmus semester in Spain, in a small but lovely town called Murcia.

At first, I had no real idea of what this experience would teach me despite talking with friends who had already been on their Erasmus. I now believe that no one can really understand the Erasmus experience if they have not lived it. The experience blows your mind and you can never forget it. Surely there have been students who were disappointed by their experience but believe me, if they went to Murcia, they would never be able to forget the Murcian food, with its tapas, its sun and the smiles of the locals.

My stay began in a new apartment with an Italian I had never met before. Every single thing felt new, even such a simple task as grocery shopping was a new experience for me. I felt like Jon Snow: I knew nothing. I embraced this crazy thought and it allowed me to discover a whole other me. It gave me the chance to ponder absurd questions, to calm myself down in stressful situations, and, sometimes, to take a deep breath and slow down. I soon found partners in crime with whom I could spend the night drinking wine and “Estrella” beer, talking for hours on end about “la Vida Loca”, teaching each other swear words in our native languages and the lyrics to songs no one understood. I received a lot of support from the start, which ultimately proved to be a constant source of energy throughout my trip. I was lucky to have had, from the beginning of my journey, such strong support from my friends, who helped me choose whether or not to go out for the night or stay in and watch the latest series on TV, together.

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Every time you go out, every time you go grocery shopping, every time you enjoy a beer and tapas during “el aperitivo”, you will meet new people. Each moment is an adventure; everything from organizing a night in watching a movie, to having a shared dinner, to a visit to a randomly chosen city to celebrating birthdays. Maybe the Spanish aura and the warm-hearted atmosphere is what allows for such wonderful moments.  

Each person you will meet will add a special something to your experience. It might be a short meeting, like on a bus ride sitting next to a stranger or taking a picture for a person and their group of friends, with the lovely Spanish scenery in the background. It could also be as long as your stay if you happen to be roommates. Who knows, maybe someone you met during your Erasmus will visit you for a week upon your return to a normal life in a new apartment in Paris. During your trip, you have no idea of what will happen, you just need to enjoy the ride to the fullest and see what happens. You will only realize everything you have experienced when the time has come to say goodbye, and you hide the tears taking over your heart, saying the following words to your new family: “if we don’t see each other here, we’ll meet there.”