Despite many differences between Spain and Australia, Tanika made the decision to come to Spain and experience life here. Different culture, siesta time, no sea and beaches. New life in Ciudad Real with its beauties and Spanish language.

1.Present yourself.

I am Tanika West and I am from a coastal town in Australia. Back in Australia I am studying osteopathy but I decided to travel before I finish my final year, so here I am, living in Ciudad Real, Spain

2. What do you do abroad?

Here in Ciudad Real I am an English tutor. I spend my spare time learning Spanish so that I am at a basic level for when I travel to South America in a few months. What will you be doing in South America? I am going there just for the adventure. Since I will be there for 8 months, I will probably spend some time teaching yoga along the way. It would be great if I could find an animal shelter to volunteer at along the way because that is something I have always wanted to do.

3. Why did you decide for working abroad?

Well, once you graduate uni, you get a job, then you work hard at that job and next thing you know, you are old, hahah, and you have not been anywhere. So, I figured I would get out while I still can, and travel as much as I could, because when you are young, you don’t have as many responsibilities, so it’s easier for me to leave and go wherever I would like.  So, that’s why I decided to work abroad. And why Spain? I want to improve my Spanish, it’s a language i’ve always wanted to learn. When I was young it was the language we spoke in the house, but as I got older we only spoke english. Now that I’m living in the same place for a while and not moving around, it is a lot easier to learn – less distractions. I moved here without really knowing any Spanish at all.

4. What were your expectations?

I did not have any. Honestly, I had no idea. I didn’t know how anything was going to turn out. I just booked the ticket and hoped for the best. I did not know anything about Ciudad Real, or that I was going to end up here.  It is good here though. It’s small, but there are still things to do, so it is not boring. My hometown is a bit smaller than Ciudad Real, but the only thing to do back home is go to the beach.

5. Was it hard to move from one country to a totally different country as you have been living?

In Australia, it is very multicultural, almost to the point where there is no culture because each family is so different- if that makes sense? We do not have any traditions or anything like that, so when I moved here there was no real culture shock or anything like that. When I came here, it was easy to just blend in. Other than the buildings, history and the colder weather, it’s not too different from Australia and it’s been super easy to settle in.

6. Did you make any friendships abroad?

I’ve met heaps of people along the way! In Ciudad Real, most of the people I know I have met through the weekly Tandems meetings. I came to Spain on the 1st of January and to Ciudad Real about the week later, so I  have not met that many people yet.

7. Did you get any experiences by working abroad

I have learnt a bit of Spanish. I can have some basic conversations, probably with a lot of errors, but that doesn’t really matter too much hahah. I like to travel every weekend, which has been quite an experience to say the least. It has forced me to become very efficient in using public transport ahaha. The more you travel, the more comfortable you feel doing so. Before coming here, straight after I graduated high school I lived in Bali for a bit by myself and I taught yoga over there, which was also an awesome experience.

8. Do you have any funny story?

I’ll have to think about that one. Ok, well, I have a story. It happened last weekend when I was heading to Lisbon. I arrived at Madrid by train late at night and my flight left early in the morning to Lisbon. I forgot to book accommodation for that night, so I booked the first place I saw; next thing I know, I’m sleeping in a random basement with towels all over the floor, soaking up the water dripping from the ceiling caused by a burst water pipe. It was not the most comfortable place I’ve slept hahah.

9. What about the culture of the country you stayed in?

Well, we have dinner a lot earlier in Australia and the sun rises around 5 am, so that’s a bit of a difference compared to here. In Australia there is a lot of slang – we shorten all of our words – so when i’m speaking to non-native english speakers, sometimes it’s a bit hard for them to understand hahah. If you learn American or British English it is quite different to the way we speak in Australian because we just like make-up words and shorten them if they are too long. We do not have a siesta time in Australia but I like the idea, because who doesn’t want a midday nap, haha. I try to make time for siesta, not every day but I try.

10. What do you think about the English in Spain?

English in Spain, aah, well the people in Tandem, they speak really good English. Overall, the level of english throughout spain and the other places in europe I have gone to is not as high as I had expected. I like it through – it adds to the experience.

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