ZACK: "MY EXPECTATIONS VS REALITY IN HUELMA"
When I came to Spain for the first time last year, I never imagined that I would return very soon. While I really enjoyed my vacation, I didn't think that I would have the opportunity to return for several years. However, while searching the internet one day, I found a program called "auxiliares de conversación." I was not entirely serious about doing the program, but I applied because it was a free application and I wanted to see what would happen. The application process is fairly long, but not very difficult. I applied and eventually accepted a place in Andalusia. At this point, I was committed to doing the program and going to Spain. Later, I received my place in Huelma. I initially thought that it said "Huelva," but eventually noticed that it also said Jaen. I had never been to Jaen, but I knew it was a region in the west of Andalusia and pretty far away from the coast. Then I did a quick search to see what Huelma was like. This is when my expectations about my year in Spain were drastically changed.
When I searched Huelma on Google, I learned a bit more about the town. I learned that it is, in fact, a very small town of 6,000 inhabitants. I was somewhat disappointed by this news and thought that I could live in Jaen. However, Jaen is pretty far and decided I would rather live in Huelma. I had never been to a Spanish town of 6,000 people, but I thought it would be much like any other town. That is to say, I thought it would be small and there would be a lack of things to do. I also had the fact that there would not be many people my age in mind. Since I was traveling in Spain last year, I had an idea about the culture and the people of Spain. However, I was only in Spain for three weeks last year and didn't really know how it would be living in a Spanish village. I seriously thought about declining my place, but in the end, decided to accept it. In addition, I thought the temperature would be rather high, but I knew that since it was in the mountains, it would get cold in the winter. As far as my work in the schools, I really had no idea how that would be. When I was studying for my degree, I studied accounting. This is drastically different than English or anything related to English so I didn't really know what to expect.
While I did have certain expectations about Huelma, not all of them were true. Some of them were true while others were not. Since it is a small town, it is true that there is not so much to do. When I arrived, everyone was very helpful and did everything they could to make me feel welcome. While it is true that there are not many people my age in Huelma, the people here are very hospitable I enjoy talking to people. One thing that still surprises me is how friendly the people from Huelma are.The accent that people have here has given me problems, but I am starting to adjust. The town is very peaceful and the surrounding area is very beautiful. One thing that I knew about that gave me problems was the Spanish timetable. Spanish people eat at different times. Also, I found it difficult to adjust to the fact that the town closes town during "siesta" time. It is difficult to do anything between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00. However, I have learned to adjust my schedule accordingly. It is certainly cold here at times and I know that it will get colder. It isn't as cold as my hometown, but it is still rather cold at night. I was a bit surprised by my work at the school. I am in bilingual classes instead of English classes, but I actually prefer this. I find it more interesting than normal English classes.
I had certain expectations when coming to Spain. Some of these expectations were formed because of my previous experience traveling through Spain while others were formed because of the information I had about the town. I found some of these expectations to be true, while others were not. I am really enjoying my time in Spain and I am glad that I came. This is an excellent opportunity and I am still somewhat surprised that I am here. This is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I'm sure I will continue to enjoy the experience and will learn many things in the coming months.