A life-changing trip in the Basque Country

05 August, 2021

I was seventeen years old when I went on an unforgettable trip with my school to Bilbao and Donostia-San Sebastián, and my experiences from this trip sparked a love for the Basque country that has only continued to grow since.

Our first day was in Bilbao. It was a rather cloudy day, but no grey skies could take away from the splendour of the Basque architecture. The buildings were so full of character that I thought to myself ‘I have to live here someday!’

As we toured the city, we passed people playing a traditional Basque sport (known as jai alai), with huge long gloves in the shape of a hook, the likes of which I had never seen before. To this day, one of my life goals is to learn how to play this game! Basque culture is so vibrant and rich, the more I learned about it the more I found I was hooked (pun intended).

We visited museums exploring the country’s fascinating history. One thing that stuck out to me in particular was the Basque maritime tradition of coastal fishing in small oar-driven fishing boats (known as traineras in Spanish and Estropadak in Basque). Though these boats are no longer used for commercial fishing today, the tradition continues with the annual regattas held in San Sebastián. Ever since hearing about the regattas, I have always hoped that one day I could go and see one in person, alongside the huge crowds of supporters that show up to cheer on their team each year.

My friend and I stayed with a host family in Donostia-San Sebastián who were extremely welcoming and kind. I noticed that my confidence and ability in speaking Spanish improved greatly as we were speaking with them constantly and exclusively in Spanish. In the ten years I have studied Spanish, I have stayed with three host families and in each instance, I have noted a marked improvement in my abilities between the start and end of my stay. Being immersed in an environment where people are speaking colloquially and about everyday life beyond what we were being taught in lessons expanded my vocabulary range greatly. For example, our hosts in Donostia-San Sebastián were kind enough to teach us a popular Spanish card game called escoba (broom), which involves using traditional Spanish cards called naipes. They explained all of the rules in Spanish which challenged us to adapt and expand our knowledge of the language. Sadly, I didn’t manage to buy a set of naipes to take back to the UK in order to keep playing, but I hope someday I can relearn the rules of escoba.

Visiting Bilbao and San Sebastián with my school was the driving force behind my decision to pursue languages at university. I found I had fallen in love with the people, the architecture, and the culture of the Basque country, and I dreamt of spending the Spanish element of my year abroad there. Instituto Hemingway has made this dream a reality. I am now living and working in Bilbao, and have the opportunity to do all the things I have wanted to do ever since my first trip to this incredible city. I could not thank Instituto Hemingway enough for helping me make my wish of living in the Basque Country come true!

Social media Share
Write a comment


  1. Barb09 January, 2023

    Reply to this comment
  2. Gabrielle09 January, 2023

    This kind of fantastic site internet site: You have got magic inside your phrases. Whenever you develop a web site website, you catch the vacationer attraction within your audience. Your efforts has to be valued. Like a regime visitor, I need to critique your weblogs. I Also plan to compose some great items of composing. According to the present day sample, I have actually composed a blog web site regarding the repairs in addition to Physician Standing by. You should study it and likewise explain to me concerning your testimonials while in the remark box. Your weblogs have truly sharp my capabilities to compose in addition to at get the job done, I am supplying excellent high quality job. Many thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Annie09 January, 2023

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about %meta_keyword%. Regards

    Reply to this comment
  4. Stephan09 January, 2023

    Breathtaking Weblog. I used to be asking on your own specifically How to define the options to my problems, following that instantaneously I observed your blog site website and also cannot halt myself from trying out the whole blog internet site. Your remarkable site website addresses all my inquiries. Which is sharing your strategies with the general public. I Furthermore experimented with to debate the most effective autos along with their routine maintenance. You'll be able to study my blog site relating to Medical doctor On Connect with and feel free to look at my very own likewise. Many thanks for this wonderful materials!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Young09 January, 2023

    Good working day! This is often type of off subject but I need some direction from an established web site. Could it be difficult to create your individual blog? I?m not extremely techincal but I am able to figure things out fairly speedy. I?m considering starting my very own but I?m unsure where to begin. Do you've got any Tips or solutions? Thanks

    Reply to this comment
  6. Jillian09 January, 2023

    It?s challenging to appear by properly-informed people today Within this unique subject, however, you appear to be you know very well what you?re talking about! Many thanks

    Reply to this comment
  7. Cornelius31 October, 2022

    Spot on with this create-up, I Actually truly feel this Internet site demands way more focus. I?ll likely be returning to read a lot more, many thanks for the info! nyttig mat med k??ttf??rs

    Reply to this comment
  8. Boyd31 October, 2022

    Great internet site. Lots of useful info listed here. I?m sending it to some buddies ans Furthermore sharing in tasty. Not to mention, many thanks with your hard work!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Lyle18 September, 2022

    This is the fantastic tip Specifically to Those people new on the blogosphere. Temporary but quite exact information and facts? Numerous many thanks for sharing this a person. Essential go through submit!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Jorja16 September, 2022

    bunadisisj nsjjsjsisjsmizjzjjzjzz zumzsert

    Reply to this comment
  11. Serena01 September, 2022

    bunadisisj nsjjsjsisjsmizjzjjzjzz zumzsert

    Reply to this comment
  12. Elhaiek 01 April, 2022

    Quiero aprender espa

    Reply to this comment
View all comments

Write a comment

Required fields are marked with *

© 2015 Copyright Instituto Hemingway.
All rights reserved.

Developed by Minimol

Questions? Let's Chat
Online Support!
Need Help? Chat with us on Whatsapp