How to Speak Chilean, by a Gringa

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I stepped onto my 15-hour flight to Santiago de Chile feeling reasonably confident with my Spanish. Never mind nine years of studying it at school and university, I had five months of experience of living in Spain under my belt. Although I’d been warned by a few Latin Americans I’d met in Salamanca that Chilean Spanish was notorious for being one of the hardest- if not THE hardest- to grasp out of the entire Spanish-speaking world, I naively thought to myself, how different could it be? Continue reading

Top 5 Moments in Salamanca

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As my time in Salamanca comes to an end, it’s time to look back on the blissful highs and hilariously tragic lows of my first semester abroad in Spain. Exams, losing just a few of my personal belongings, frustration at Spanish bureaucracy, language barriers and homesickness aside, the innumerable highlights by far outweigh the lows. Since there were so many memories to choose from, I decided to pick moments and trips I hadn’t mentioned in previous posts! Continue reading

Have yourself a Feliz Navidad

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The run-up to Christmas has been somewhat different this year. Needless to say there are no mince pies in sight, no Costa Coffee Christmas drinks to fuss over and no Cadbury chocolate advent calendars on sale. Christmas in Spain is, in general, quite different to in the UK as the festivities start a lot later, and the sun is still shining relentlessly…

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ESPAÑA: Myth vs. Reality

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After a few weeks embracing the Erasmus life, it’s time to tackle five stereotypes of the Spanish culture in search of the quintessential Hispanic lifestyle…

  1. The siesta = REALITY

Before moving to Salamanca, I was under the impression that the siesta was a thing of the past, or at least reserved for lazy summer days. Within moments of my arrival, I realised I would drastically have to adjust my body clock to fit in with the Spaniards. Not only do the vast majority of shops (and all university offices- helpful!) close between 2pm and 5pm but the academic timetable also revolves around the siesta. This means I have scarcely any classes in the afternoon. What’s the catch? Lectures starting at 7pm three times a week… The fact that nights out here start at 11pm at the VERY earliest and can end at 7.30am also makes the need for siestas a lot more understandable. Continue reading

Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong – Mooncakes and Bride Pools

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This is by far the busiest that Hong Kong has been so far. Thursday the fifteenth of September saw the arrival of Hong Kong’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节). Everywhere we walked, people shared Mooncakes and lit Lanterns up and down the packed streets of Causeway Bay. We were surrounded by thousands of people making their way to Victoria Park to see the shows and nearby Incense Dragon Dance. Looking around, we knew that this was going to be one of the highlights of Chinese culture we would see during our time here. Continue reading

The Golden City

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Only a few days have passed since I first set foot on the cobbled streets of Salamanca and I’ve already fallen in love with la ciudad dorada. The city has a lively student vibe and a friendly cosmopolitan atmosphere thanks to all the Erasmus students. With nine thousand international students from all over the world and a host of events happening all the time, there’s yet to be a dull moment! Continue reading

On Food. Or, the beginning of an entirely inadequate summary of culinary fun in Hong Kong.

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All I had hoped for and more is true: ‘Hong Kong’ can confidently be labelled as synonymous with ‘good food’. The melting pot of cultures, styles and traditions means that you can’t walk more than a hundred metres without passing a veritable melange of international eateries. My claim – that if you want to eat well, you should be here in Hong Kong – is a big one, but I’m confident that I can justify it based on only two weeks of experience and the limitations of a student’s budget. Continue reading

Bienvenue à Paris

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August is coming to an end and so are my first two weeks here in Paris. Time went so quickly and there are so many things happening that I barely get the time to unwind and reflect. But that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

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Ian from Texas, Connor from New Hampshire, Avery from Singapore, Erin from Boston, Tesni from the UK and me enjoying the evening sun on a boat-bar in the south of Paris.

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