Hola! It’s a little surreal to believe that I’ve been in Spain for a month! If you think time flies while you’re in College Station, just try going on a study abroad and see how quickly everything goes! Spain is everything I thought it would be, but of course it has a few surprises. Every street, corner, avenue, and plaza is charming in its own way. It’s completely unique and different than Aggieland. There’s a history and story behind every building that dates back farther than you thought. I absolutely love living in the center, and I was surprised at how familiar and comfortable everything became once I settled into my apartment. I love being being able to walk downstairs and order a mixto (a ham and cheese sandwich) from a cafeteria. I live about 15 minutes by foot from Puerta Del Sol, the heart and center of Madrid and also technically Spain. It is the area in which roads begin their direction to other Spanish cities; there’s a sign on the ground that reads “Kilometro O.”  I find myself going there basically everyday, as it is an easy and common meeting point for people. Tapas, sangria, paella, jamon and churros have all been consumed in abundance, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I completely embrace Spanish food, and I can already tell I’ll miss it when I’m back in Texas. I’ve been able to also visit Toledo and Valencia. Toledo is a town that dates back to Roman Empire times, and it genuinely feels like you’ve gone back hundred of years. I became amazed at the fact that I was able to walk down streets and into stores and plazas that people from 400 years ago did too. It’s the town where the famous painter, El Greco, spent his life and completed master works of art. Valencia, on the other hand, is a newer city that offers not only historic sights but also an incredibly modern area called “The City of Arts and Sciences” that hosts the largest aquarium in Europe. The buildings are something you’d imagine in Startrek or some futuristic movie that takes place in space. To be honest, it isn’t something you’d expect from a beach town in Spain, in particular, the city that the world-famous paella originates from; it’s intriguing and beautiful in its own way. I have to say that my favorite part so far has been just meeting new people and immersing myself not only in Spanish culture but also the culture of other countries where other exchange students originate from. I love meeting people from all over the world and hearing about what is normal for them. In my opinion, there is almost nothing better than finding out something different than what I’m accustomed to. I love trying new things, seeing new things, learning new languages, and meeting new people that add to a more whole and complete perspective of life. School has been in session for three weeks. The way it functions is totally different than A&M. It’s an incredible opportunity to have insight to see how another university works. It’s so easy to only think of your own university and become accustomed to how one country’s school system works. It took a little bit of adjusting to the school, but I’m enjoying my classes. I especially like  Spanish History of the 20th century and learning about the recent history of  Spain. Also, it’s interesting to gain a different perspective on business principles and teachings, yet also observe similarities and shared knowledge. So far, I adore Spain and am trying my best to say yes to everything and live in the moment. I love to document as much of my experience as I can (often I’m a little overzealous with picture taking.) I feel insanely lucky and happy to have this opportunity, and I can’t imagine not doing it. Until next time! Hasta Luego! -Laura Madrid! September 2014 Toledo Toledo 2 Toledo 3 Plaza Mayor Flamenco Puerta de Sol Ham Palace Palace 2