After landing in Malaga and navigating my way through the airport, I hopped on an intercity bus to find a Carrefour where I bought a breakfast of apples and an empanada. Once I devoured my food under the shade of some palm trees, I took a quick ride on the metro to our program hotel in the center of Malaga. The remainder of the day was relaxed and only involved a couple of activities – a long lunch on the beach and a walking tour of Malaga.
Our next week in the program was spent attending orientation. In the mornings, we met in small classes to delve into topics relevant to our understanding of Spanish society. The subjects of discussion included, among others, the lives of college-aged Spaniards and the political climate of Spain. Afternoons were spent outdoors in the city participating in activities meant to help introduce us to life in Granada.
Orientation culminated in a hiking trip in Cabo de Gata, a dusty nature reserve on the Mediterranean coast that is mainland Europe’s only true desert biome. Stunning views of rolling volcanic terrain and swimming in crystalline water made the trek well worth the while.