My name is Allie Diehl and I’m a 21-year-old industrial engineering and Spanish major. I’m a senior from Chardon, Ohio, and will be studying in Murcia, Spain, throughout this semester at Universidad de Murcia until June.
What made you want to study abroad?
I have always loved travelling, making new friends, and seeing different parts of our beautiful world. For me, exploring and learning about new cultures is simply a way of life. Growing up in a military family, I have lived all over the United States.
While I love our country, we as Americans tend to act as if we are the only inhabitants of this planet. There is so much to learn from other places, and studying abroad was the perfect way for me to embrace my independence and go discover the world on my own.
What were your expectations for this trip?
Although I had a few expectations for this trip, I tried to arrive in Spain with as little baggage as possible—both figuratively and literally. I wanted to have both an open mind and open heart in order to experience as much as possible. With that being said, I have spent years learning about the Spanish culture and so I expected that certain aspects of my lifestyle would change, such as my sleep schedule and diet.
What do you hope to accomplish or do while abroad?
I have two main goals: to become conversationally fluent in Spanish and to obtain be able to travel internationally with confidence. I chose an exchange program in Spain over one in a Latin American country because I wanted to experience a variety of different cultures while I’m abroad, and in Europe, this is much easier to accomplish.
What has been your biggest culture shock, if anything?
Right now, my biggest culture shock has been the change in my sleep schedule. I am usually in bed by 10:30 pm and awake and ready to go by 7:30 am. In Murcia, the sun does not rise until after 8 am and the streets are empty until at least 10 am. In addition, most Spainards stay out on the town and have dinner or shop until 10 pm or 11 pm. It is completely normal to see families hanging out and strolling through the city late at night.