We’re not in Kansas anymore … or are we?

About 3,407 miles away (or, should I say, 5,482 kilometers) from my family in Boston, 4,145 miles from the U, a few time zones ahead, I emerged from the metro to the gleaming sunshine of a Madrid mañana.

The Spanish capital city, home to sangria, tapas, y … Starbucks?

To my left, Dunkin’ Coffee. To my right, the golden arches of McCafe.

Dios mío.

I did just cross the Atlantic, didn’t I?

My first night out with a group of international exchange students from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid began in an Irish pub with the distinctive sounds of Carly Rae Jepsen and Pitbull.

Really embracing the Spanish culture, eh?

But despite the reminders of life at home in the U.S., I’m beginning to understand the incredible opportunity that is a semester abroad.  At home in my rented flat, my Italian, French and Chinese roommates and I always converse in Spanish. In the few days of shared inhabitance at 92 Calle Embajadores, our comedor is the place we learn a bit of a new language, teach each other our native customs, and embrace the international lifestyle.

At mi universidad nueva, I wander like a lost little Hurricane trying to find the Flipse building, only this time, I’m surrounded by new friends who hail from Italy, Scotland and London. The blend of accents, slang expressions, fashion and perspectives makes for a colorful group of amigos and friendship that spans the globe.

Here’s hoping for more good to come. Hasta luego!


Kristen Spillane is a junior majoring in print journalism and Spanish.