My flight from the US to Spain went very well, and I settled into my new surroundings without experiencing the dreaded “jet lag” that everyone talks about. After a few days here in Barcelona I began to experience what I can only describe as culture shock. So many aspects of life were different: from constantly speaking a different language, to navigating the city’s metro system, to even shopping for groceries for my apartment. I felt disorientated and missed home.
That was until I received a helpful piece of advice- “there are problems and then there are differences.” Living in a new country entails a surprising amount of differences, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. You have to learn to embrace new ways of life, and accept your new found independence.
1. Distraction- In the first week or two when you’re feeling overwhelmed it helps to ease anxiety by taking your mind off everything. I suggest hanging out with some of the new friends you’ve made or going for a walk around your neighborhood.
2. Routine- I used to think a routine was suffocating, but now having a routine class schedule has helped me to feel confident and normal again. I suggest laying out your class schedule and setting aside time for other activities, such as daily lunch at a cafe you like and even day trips to cool spots nearby.
3. Have an open mind. Everything may not go as planned, but the best moments are spontaneous! Here are a couple pics of what I’ve enjoyed while learning to embrace my new home; including- yummy frozen yogurt, and visiting Gaudí‘s work- Casa Botlló.