Spanish Survival Guide:
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This should go without saying, but always make sure you know where you are, or have a good idea, in case something happens. Make sure you have some kind of idea on the area so you can find your way back to where you’re staying at the end of the day. You should also be conscious of who is around you, too, and keep an eye on your belongings.
I have a few examples to help illustrate what I mean. Let’s start off with the most serious, and end with the lightest and most humorous.
1. First and foremost, make sure you are conscious of the people around you. Spain is full of wonderful, nice, and helpful people. But, no matter where you are, someone there is not going to be the nicest of people. I’m not saying this to dissuade you, or anyone, from studying abroad. I actually had no problem with this, but I also didn’t put myself in a situation where a problem could arise. Just as you would back home, make smart choices and most of the time you will be fine.
2. Make sure you know where you are in case you get lost. Or at the very least, make sure you know where you need to go. I took a weekend trip to Porto, Portugal with some friends. Although it smelled horrid in some places, it was beautiful and well worth it. However, there was a bump in my trip that I had to get over.
My friends all drink wine and wanted to do a wine tour. I despise the taste of wine and decided not to go. I chose to walk around Porto solo until our meet up time, back at the bridge where the tour started, when the tour was over. The tour was supposed to end at 7pm. They didn’t get done with their first stop until 6:30; our bus left the same day at 9. Around 6 I had to go back to the bridge early to wait for them because my phone was about dead. I got a message saying the tour would last long and they couldn’t meet at the bridge. My return message was “Ok, my phone is about to die. Where should I go?” Then, my phone died. I was stuck by the bridge, no phone, no clue where I was. But I knew where I needed to go, the bus station, and I knew some monuments that could guide me there. So I went to the nearest train station and looked at the map, found out where I needed to go, and just kept bouncing from station to station until I found the street I needed, which lead me to the monument I was looking for, and then I found the bus station. All with an hour to spare!
It was an interesting experience but I wouldn’t recommend this. Keep a portable charger on you so you don’t go through this, too.
3. The funniest story is next. I cannot claim ownership of this story, but I have permission to share it.
A friend I met here was in another city before she got to Salamanca. Her and her friend decided to go out and have a good night and were bouncing from bar to bar. One of the stops happened to look interesting. There were people coming out who looked like they’d been having a great time: smiling, pep in their step, super happy. You know the type. The place even had a beckoning red light. They decided to go down and check it out. It wasn’t long before the smell and appearance of the place made them realized that it wasn’t the kind of bar they were looking for. Needless to say, they abruptly ran up the stairs and left the area.
So, keep an eye on your stuff and where you are. You don’t want to lose anything important, get lost (although it was an interesting ordeal), or end up in a Spanish brothel.