Today’s blog post comes to us from Framingham State University student and Spring 2020 API blogger Taylor Anderson! She’s studying abroad with us in Seville, Spain.
I’d be lying if I said my journey to Spain wasn’t a rocky one.
Flying to Spain was my first experience traveling internationally, and my flight was 6 hours with a 50-minute connection! Yes, you heard that correctly: a 50-minute connection! It was just as terrifying as it sounds.
After a particularly cramped 6-hour flight (although the free movies were a bonus) I had to rush through an unfamiliar airport in Lisbon, Portugal. I walked out of the airplane and into this very large walkway with green-tiled walls. I didn’t even know which gate my next flight was located! My boarding pass simply said to “look at the signs at the airport.” All I could think to do was follow the crowd of people who were on the same flight as me. So I followed the crowd and was led to the area with customs. I gazed at the lengthy customs line in horror! There was absolutely no way that I would make my flight on time if I had to wait in that line.
Fortunately I was directed towards a fast lane through customs. After getting through customs and security I was told to run to the gate for the Madrid flight before I missed it! I ran through this airport without even knowing where the gate was. I finally asked someone who worked at the airport where the flight to Madrid was. As soon as I said the word “Madrid”, he told me to run and ran with me to the gate! I was probably the last person to board the flight. I barely made it in time! So a huge lesson I learned that day was to never ever book a flight with a 50 minute connection again! It’s simply not worth the stress!
My flight from Lisbon to Madrid was only about an hour.
I was definitely beginning to feel the effects of traveling through different time zones. I was absolutely exhausted when I made it to the Madrid airport, but I was running on pure adrenaline. I was just so thankful that I made it to Madrid safely!
I made it to the baggage claim area and ended up meeting other API students. Our orientation was held in Madrid. We shared our traveling experiences while waiting for our luggage. Even though I was exhausted like everyone else, I was very excited to meet the other students in my program. They all seemed pretty cool. Thankfully, my luggage came very quickly. Unfortunately there were a few students who never got their luggage that day. They would have to wait until the next day to receive their luggage.
We all made our way to the airport pick-up spot and eventually the resident directors showed up with smiles on their faces, just like in their photos in the orientation packet API emailed to us. Once I saw them and got onto the bus, I heaved an enormous sigh of relief! I was finally in Spain with my program! My adventure had finally begun!