Senna talks about emigration to Spain and studying at Proyecto Español – “If there wasn´t a pandemic, I wouldn´t be here in the first place!”
Every student coming to Proyecto Español has a different story to tell. Whilst talking to 17-year-old Senna from The Netherlands, I was impressed by how full of joy she is about starting a new big chapter in life. “My parents always had the dream to move to Spain, and here we are!” Like all of us, Senna and her family were facing a situation we have never experienced before. As her father had to start working from home in May, he realised that it doesn´t matter where he is located and made the life-changing decision to move abroad to Spain. “I was so excited because I always wanted to go to Proyecto Español so it was basically perfect timing. I chose Proyecto Español because I had a really good feeling about it, I came here one year ago without an appointment and everyone was just being so nice, they showed me around the school and gave me all the information I needed and this gave me a really nice feeling.”
Senna always loved the Spanish language and as her grandparents have also been living in Spain for 18 years now, she has always been connected to the country and the language in some way. “I think it´s really useful to learn new languages, right now I speak English and I want to become fluent in Spanish, because of this I can communicate with people around the world.” She recognized that her learning process here goes way quicker than in the Netherlands, being surrounded by Spanish all day helps a lot. Senna’s family now lives in Torrevieja meanwhile she decided to live with a host family in Alicante to have the full Spanish experience. “In the beginning, it was a little hard to understand my host family as they talk quite fast but you get used to it and everyone is so kind and helpful. I live with my host mum and she has two daughters, I got invited to one of her friend’s birthday party and we went bowling that was really nice. So we also spent some free time together!” When you ask her if it was hard to adjust to the new culture she only laughs at how late the Spanish people have their dinner, “their dinner time is my bedtime, I really had to adjust to that!” She describes the culture as very different from the Netherlands, with more food and people being more open here, which she enjoys a lot.
Senna starts her day by having breakfast and a talk to her host mum, who is usually already awake at that time. After, she attends three hours of grammar class and two hours of conversation class. “I chose the intensive course because I really wanted to do the conversation as well, as I think it’s really important besides practising the grammar. The teachers speak very slowly and if you don´t understand something you can always ask and they will help you, they are all being very nice!” She also tries to participate in the free activities offered by the school as much as possible as it helps her to explore more of the area, the culture and make new friends. “For example one time I went to Salsa class and really really liked it and wanted to do it more so now I am doing it every Wednesday! I also took part in Intercambio and joined some Saturday trips.” Besides exploring the area around Alicante, she also fell in love with the city itself. “I love the city because it´s not too small and not too big and I love the beach as I go there almost every day. There´s so much to see and to do here despite the fact we are living in a complicated time right now.”
Senna describes the situation as manageable as long as you respect the rules, such as wearing your mask and keeping the distance. “I think if there wasn’t a pandemic I wouldn’t be here in the first place, so everything is possible!”