Did you ever feel like you're living your dreams? I most certainly did, not so long ago. My first Erasmus experience was to a country I felt the connection with ages ago on a high school trip. I knew someday I'll live there, not in that particular city, but the country for sure. When I decided to apply for my exchange all I asked was a city in Spain. And then I heard the name of a city that stole my heart, Almería. All the pictures I've seen online seemed like a fairy tale. I couldn't believe that something so beautiful exists. On September 6th, I left my hometown and went on my first solo adventure. No family, no friends, no acquaintances.
I had more luck than other people, therefore it wasn't hard for me to relax and allow myself to enjoy the trip. Students who were in Almería before me gave me some great tips on how and where to find a place to live, flatmates, what to do first and so on. One of my flatmates, Emina, was from Sarajevo and we met up for coffee once. José Jesús, a student from Almería who was on his Erasmus here in Mostar helped me with everything else (I'm forever grateful for everything you did for me and my friends!!). Thanks to him, I knew I'm going to be safe and everything is going to be alright. His brother, Sergio, came to the bus station, picked me up and took me to my new home (You should've let me help you with that suitcase. You carried 25 kilos to the third floor like it's nothing!). Emina was already there, so I wasn't alone.
It's odd how you can get along so well with someone so different from you. Emina and I spent a lot of time together and we travelled to so many cities and countries. I don't have a younger sister and Emina is probably what I would want her to be like. (I'm hoping for a reunion with Ivana and Mara as soon as this quarantine ends.) I also met my two best friends for life in Almería, Naara and Irmak. I miss our nights at Tio Tom, those long and deep conversations about anything and everything. I miss complaining about all the tasks and professors we had, too. Even though it was a short period, I'm glad we created bonds that are going to last for a lifetime. Thank you, literature professor, for cancelling the very first class because that's how I met Irmak. Thank you, ESN Almería, for the integration weekend trip, where I met Naara. And linguistics course where I met a girl who taught me so many important life skills, Adrianna. Also, thank you, German course for bringing us all together.
Courses at University of Almería are mostly in Spanish so you don't have to attend them, but if you study English, like I do, then you have no excuse. I had classes every day and I didn't mind. The bus ride was dreamy. You drive along the beach! How can anyone not look forward to it?! The overall organisation at university wasn't the best, but if I could go again I sure would. The scholarship wasn't paid monthly but in percentages. If you don't spend it all at once, it's more than enough. Groceries were cheaper than what I expected and monthly rent was around 200 euros with bills. Monthly bus pass was less than 30 euros and sales at the mall were amazing! Life in Almería is something that everyone should experience. My whole stay there felt like being in a movie that I'll never forget.
I'll never forget the beautiful sunrise I'd see every morning while drinking my first coffee. Tostadas, sunny days, tapas, tinto de verano and calimocho, botellons and La Clásica. Or that bench we'd go to enjoy the stunning sunsets on the beach. If you want to learn how to enjoy your life to the fullest, fall in love with a new culture, learn (or improve) a beautiful language and find a new home, I suggest you pack your bags and go say hi to my beloved Almería.