Bron in the Basque Country: First Impressions

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Here we go.

This is it. The big one. The one we’ve all been waiting for. My year abroad.

Bilbao is bigger than I expected. After moving from a small town to a small city to THE CAPITAL OF A PROVINCE, it’s understandable how it can be a little overwhelming. Combined with the fact that I (non-surprisingly) was thrown into speaking Spanish from the word go, it continued to be a lot to take in. I made the wise decision in hindsight to insist that Mum was dragged along with me into the chaos that is immersing myself into a completely different culture.

There’s more to learning a second language than one might think. Surprisingly to some, we are not instantly fluent as soon as we conjugate our first verb, and furthermore the real world is a very different environment compared to just parroting phrases in a classroom. I’ve been ordering food, translating for my Mum and asking for directions, and I’ve had to think on my feet in a way I’ve never had to at home. I also have the added bonus being that people are not only rapidly talking to me in Spanish, but also in Basque.

The Basque Country seems to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it places. It’s a little rough around the edges and the people are proud in a way that can often be seen as harsh. The restaurants don’t open until 8 in the evening, and the buildings are so tall they can be intimidating.

On the other hand, it suits me just fine. It’s colder than the stereotypical Spain, I’m never too far from a coffee shop or a wine bar (two of my greatest loves in the world) and the public transport is incredibly efficient. Obviously it hasn’t all been plain sailing but it’s important to know if you’re moving to a new country that sometimes you may have incidents that will upset you but you will get over it and develop as a person. The Guggenheim is gorgeous, the scenery is beautiful and there has been so much to explore in the first week alone.

I’m sure the city will grow on me, and as long as those skyscrapers don’t grow on me the best is yet to come.

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