The best thing about studying abroad is that you get to have two homes. And that’s something I would have never experienced if I didn’t leave my home country, Spain.
During my last year of high school, I carefully considered my career options and where I could apply for university. At the time, I was still living with my parents in Spain and all I knew was that I wanted to study journalism. The closest university in my region was the University of Oviedo but it didn’t offer any Journalism courses. My best option was to move to Madrid.
To my surprise, my father started considering other possibilities, such as studying abroad somewhere in Europe. I had been studying English since I could remember, so thankfully the language was not a barrier. My parents have always encouraged me to travel abroad and participate in student exchanges, so they encouraged the idea of me studying in a university far away from Spain. After loads of online searching, my father came across RGU which led him to find out about the SAAS funding for European students. It immediately felt like the puzzle was completed.
One evening he asked me “would you like to go to Scotland?” and I immediately said “yes!”.
Of course, there were lots of things to consider before moving from Spain to Aberdeen, the accommodation being one of them. But RGU’s website offered all the information I needed about life in Aberdeen and helped me prepare for the big move!
The first year at Aberdeen was difficult, because I was young and, looking back in time, moving abroad was a big change for a 17-year-old one to experience. From living with my parents and seeing them every day, to suddenly become self-sufficient and see them once every three months, it was a shock to my system. It taught me, however, how to be more independent, and how to make friends in a new environment and how to overcome difficulties.
There are no major cultural differences between Spain and Scotland, yet it took me time to adapt to life in Aberdeen. I didn’t quite understand the Aberdonian accent either, so that was another thing I had to get used too pretty quickly.
After a few months, I got used to my new life and right now I am really happy in Aberdeen. I made friends and some really good memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
When I tell people that I live in Scotland, they always ask me about the weather. Although it may come as a surprise to some, the truth is that the weather is not much different than in Spain. I come from Northern Spain that the stereotypical images of sun, beach and sangria don’t apply except for a few days in July. We get as much wind and rain as in Aberdeen, so I was mentally ready for the Aberdeen weather.
The nightlife is another point to consider. There are so many options in Aberdeen – not only there is an abundance of bars and pubs, but also night clubs and parties. Everyone enjoyed themselves during the weekends!
However, the thing that has made my experience in Aberdeen so positive is RGU!
Studying Journalism at RGU for three years now and going on an Erasmus in Brussels has really made me even more passionate about my future career. My lecturers always motivate me and encourage me to do my best. There is a positive, multicultural environment in RGU with people that are passionate about their studies. It also helps that the RGU campus is located in one of the most beautiful sceneries, just next to the River Dee.
I am happy I made the decision to move from Spain to Aberdeen and study in RGU. I have grown into a different person and I have become independent. Spain and Scotland are two different places and I am lucky and proud that I get to call them both ‘home’!
Natalia Núñez Bolaño