They say Spanish people welcome you into their home with open arms, and the people of Bilbao are no exception.
From the taxi driver at the airport, to the people I stopped to ask for directions and everybody in between; this week has been full of “¡Bienvenido!” and smiles.
This year I will be working as an English Language Assistant for the British Council in a primary school close to just out of Bilbao in a village near Guernica. After a full tour of the school from the head teacher on Tuesday, meeting all the children and a few nights staying with the English teacher, Ane, whilst I waited to move into my flat, I can already tell I’ve landed with a perfect placement. Maybe I’m speaking too soon before I start English classes with the children, but bien, hasta ahora!
I was lucky to have a couple of road trips with Ane this week, where we visited her favourite beaches and spots for pintxos, the Basque equivalent to tapas.
Since flying out to Bilbao, everything seems to have gone pretty smoothly…even the queues at the police station to apply for my NIE (Número de Identificación del Extranjero) were nothing like what I’d prepared myself for!
Friday night was spent right drinking 1,80€ wine and perfectly constructed pintxos in Casco Viejo, the Old Town of the city. I never thought there would be so many people on the same English Language teaching programme – from Leeds, the UK, other parts of Europe and the States too.
After a week mainly speaking English, my first night in my new flat was another story. I was greeted by one of my new Spanish flatmates, who had organised an evening with internationals in the flat…complete with an Italian girl to craft some incredible handmade pizzas! It was the perfect “Bienvenido” into my new flat and a lovely evening spent speaking Spanish to students from Spain, Italy, Brazil and Colombia.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer first week to settle into my new home for the year. Moving abroad to a new country brings excitement and curiosity, but also a whole pile of nerves and worries which seem to have gone since touching down on Spanish soil.
I can’t wait to begin teaching this week and get started on this new adventure. Stay tuned here to hear more – hit the follow button on the right and check out my Instagram @aliceinwanderlanddiary too…thanks for reading!