STUDYING ABROAD: MY JOURNEY TO VALLADOLID (by Tuan Anh Nguyen)

So I’ve been in Valladolid for more than a month. I remembered 5 weeks ago I was still sitting in my room back in Vietnam, nervous and exciting all at once. I’ve never been abroad before, so you can imagine how terrified and anxiety I was. Living in your hometown for your whole life and suddenly you moved to a country half a world away with different culture, different language and lifestyle… The very thought of it frightened me. That’s how I feel at first.

One day before leaving, I started to pack my luggage. Since it’s my first trip abroad, I prepared almost everything, from the smallest things like knives, forks, chopsticks to those bigger like blanket or pillow, I even bring with me a rice cooker. It’s so funny because a lot of those things are unnecessary. Silly me!

Finally the big day came. I left my country for the first time and after 26 hours flying, I stepped my very first step in Spain, the country which I immediately fell in love with. My first impression is the transportation here is so good. Since when I came to Valladolid, I’ve never seen any traffic jam, and the people here are lovely, they even stop the car in the middle of the road to let you cross.

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Good transportation and a clean city / Buen transporte y una ciudad muy limpia

It is way better than in my country, where transportation is a nightmare, and so I go out a lot, despite of the cold weather, because for a person who is less likely to travel like me, being here is like Alice walking in wonderland. My favorite spot is the Facultad de Derecho, which means Faculty of Law in English.

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Faculty of Law / Facultad de Derecho

The Plaza Mayor – the main square is also very nice.

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The more I know about the city’s history, the more I find myself interested in it, so I spent my first two weeks here to go around and learn about the past of the city. Turns out that before Madrid, Valladolid was the capital of Spain for a short time. It is also the place where Christopher Columbus breathed his last, and once the home of famous authors Francisco de Quevedo and Miguel de Cervantes.
On week 3, I went to school to enroll and begin my international semester at the School of Industrial Engineering.

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Faculty of Engineering / Facultad de Ingenierías Industriales 

On my international semester, I have 3 courses in English and a Spanish language course. As people always say, learning a new language is like looking to the world through a new window, so I decided to learn Spanish, also because I want to understand more about Spanish culture and people. All the teachers are awesome, they treated me as if I were their children, and never hesitate to help me both inside and outside the class. The way they express the lessons is totally different compare to my country and although having class all day, I didn’t feel tired at all. And I met other students around the world. At first I didn’t know anybody, but now I have many friends, and the city feels like home to me.

This is Alfredo – teacher of my Spanish course. Don’t let the appearance fools you. He may looks very strict, but the truth is, he is very funny and enthusiastic. I am so lucky to have him as my teacher.

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And that’s my first month in Valladolid. For the next 4 months of my exchange program, I do not have any expectation, because I know for sure, that this semester is going to be the most exciting five months of my life, as I am really happy and enjoying my time here.

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