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The world is a very diverse place. In Spain the people and their culture are very different from the United States. The people talk, act, and look different. Their attitudes are also different than American persons attitude. The diversity changes a persons opinion on their culture and other cultures. Has anyone ever dreamed of studying in a foreign country? When Karen first saw the foreign exchange students walking in the halls at school it intrigued her mind. It seemed like such a wonderful idea to study in a different country.
So in eighth grade when the thought of going to Costa Rica arrived in her Spanish club and then in tenth grade they disscussed a trip to Spain. So junior year Karen and the Spanish club started their classes to gain college credit for the trip and to learn more about the culture before they went there.
April 5, 2000, Karen and the Spanish club arrive in Madrid, Spain. In New York it had been snowing and in Madrid it is sunny and warm.
The grass is green the flowers are blooming, and the smell is amazing. All we could smell was the freshness, ocean, and the flowers. The grass is as green as a lime waiting to be peeled, and the water was just a little brown, though some was extremely blue. In Madrid, there is the Plaza de Mayor, a square which had a huge beautiful statue right in the middle. There were people everywhere: some playing their own music, others listening, talking, writing, reading, some were shopping, others were eating, many were just lying on the ground around us.
We lie on the ground that is cold and a little dirty but we did not care, we were in Spain and allowed to do almost anything we wanted. Karen thought well maybe this would not be that scary. She felt happy and excited to be there. She could not wait until she would meet the family she would be living with
The people in Avila, the city that we stayed in, were awesome. Most the women and girls were pretty, and the men and boys were good-looking, with their dark complexion and dark hair and eyes. They were sweet and understanding with the fact that not everyone is as fluent as them. Though there were some that were not happy to see us in Avila. The clubs were a different story; if you werent a regular they didnt want you there. They will push others around in the club and start following them wherever they would go. They swore at the group in Spanish and many of the group swore back the best they could. Karen was scared when the story of the teenagers really came true in a local club her and her friends were attacked by a group of teens. She did wish to be home where everyone knew everyone.
The schools in Avila were very different but wonderful. The students get out at twelve oclock or so for an hour lunch, then went back for about two hours. Then they would go to work, hangout with friends, or study, then they would come home around ten at night and eat a small supper. Many students would go out for a couple hours. The families supported these actions and helped plan activities. The mothers would give a time to come in at around one or two and the children were never late. Karen loved the schools more there because there was more freedom than in New York. The teachers were great they wanted to help her understand more and cared about happened the night before. The she stayed with she loved. The mother was the best; she did not know any English but did want to know. So her and her roommate taught her a little at a time.
The culture in Spain was very different than the United States. They considered Avila a small town with ten thousand people, though where we were from a town of two thousand. The people understood the difference between our culture and languages. They expected us to learn which we did. The experience brings many to the thought of what might happen if your culture was just like theirs. You never know maybe someday things will be different all over and they will have to visit again someday. So does going to different country incise you?
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