A Letter from… Soria


My name’s Lucy, I’m a third-year Spanish student and I have a confession: I didn’t want to go abroad this year. In this respect, I’m not a typical language student, who spends the first part of their degree longing for the compulsory time abroad. In fact, during the week prior to my departure to Spain, I was seriously questioning my sanity. Why on earth had I chosen to study a degree course that forced me to live abroad, away from the land of Twinings, Twiglets and toast? To my mind, I was making a massive mistake. How wrong could I have been…

I live in Soria, which is about the same size as Winchester, but without a Topshop or a Tesco’s. Soria is well-known amongst Spaniards as being a) very cold and b) very quiet, it definitely hasn’t got the reputation of Madrid or Barcelona. However, sorianos (the locals) more than make up for the town’s sleepy nature; put simply, they are a pretty friendly bunch. Within a couple of weeks, middle-aged teachers referred to me as “daughter”, I had been coerced into joining a choir and I had been asked to help choose a Belgian Shepherd Dog for my host family’s grandparents. You really are made to feel right at home. The location of the town itself is also perfect – as long as you’re prepared to spend a couple of hours in a poorly-driven coach, you’ve got cities like Burgos, Zaragoza and Valladolid at your fingertips.

Definitely more picturesque than Portswood…

Wanting a break from the uni workload, I have opted to spend my year en el extranjero working as a language assistant in a primary school. To anyone mulling over their options for their time abroad, I would seriously recommend the teaching route. The 12-hour working weeks leave plenty of time left for exploring the rest of the country, and having an income means that you’re not constantly worrying about the purse strings.  If, like me, you’re considering teaching as a career after uni, it’s fantastic experience for your CV. What’s more, should you get to work with younger pupils, you will essentially be paid to have your very own walking, talking fan club. Whether you’re doing your weekly shop or just trying to have a quiet coffee in town, small children seem to pop up wherever you go…

Your standard Spanish town hall!

That just about concludes my first letter from Soria. At times, I undoubtedly miss friends, family and the familiarity of Southampton. However, I think that, one small step at a time, this reluctant traveller is slowly learning to like life abroad.

¡Hasta luego!


Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    Living abroad is a wonderful experience. It made me very happy to read your article and remember my year abroad in Castellón last year. Coming back to England is a bit of a culture shock, but it affects everyone differently. I never thought about what I would miss (apart from my family), I couldn’t wait to get abroad and live something new.

    Hope you enjoys what remains of your Year Abroad!! I want to get back out there as soon as possible after I’ve graduated.

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