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EF Stories: Tuvali at EF Malaga

During 3 weeks, 16-year-old Tuvali improved her Spanish skills in sunny Malaga.
EF Stories: Tuvali at EF Malaga

Tuvali went on a language trip to Malaga in the summer of 2020. She has told us about her best memories from the trip and what it was like to travel outside Sweden during Covid-19.

How come you went on a language trip?

Going on a language trip is something I've always wanted to do because it seems so fun and I also like trying new things. I decided just a few weeks before we were supposed to leave, so it was a hasty decision. However, it was also one of the best decisions of my life. I was tired of Sweden's cold weather and the daily routine at home, so when I saw an advertisement about the language trip, I was immediately interested.

Did you go alone or with a friend?

I went completely alone, which was a decision I'm happy about. That way, you're "forced" to connect with new people and don't stick to your comfortable friend. I was nervous that I might not connect with anyone before we left, but right when I got to the airport, it felt good. The first person I met was my wonderful leader Andrea who was always chatty. My nervousness quickly faded, and when I started talking to the other students, it felt great.

Was it hard to speak Spanish?

It was a bit strange at first. We tried to speak Spanish as much as possible, but since there were English students at our residence, we mostly spoke English with them. However, during our group activities, we did our best. Looking back, I feel that my spoken Spanish improved a lot when I forced myself to speak the language.

What was a typical day in Malaga like?

On weekdays, we woke up around 8 in my "apartment". We had a routine of starting the day by listening to music and dancing to fully wake up while we got ready. I was always excited for breakfast; my standard was toasted sandwiches with chocolate (which I miss a lot). Then we hurried to class. It was nice that everything was at our residence. The lessons varied but they were fun, even though it might sound boring to go to school. We made movies, oral presentations, theatre, and what I found most fun was going out in the city and talking to the locals. I didn't think my Spanish would improve as much as it did, so that was cool.

After lessons from 9-12, we had lunch and some chill time before the afternoon activities. During our free time, we played basketball, swam in the residence's pool, played various games, and often danced with the leaders.

The activities varied each time, but all of them were so much fun. Some of my favorites were rafting, water sports, and hamam. One thing I'm sure of is - we were never bored during these 3 weeks!

In the evening, after dinner, we'd find things to do on our own, like going out for ice cream, playing basketball, soccer tournaments against other countries, or just chilling on someone's balcony.

Curfew was at 11 pm, and then we mostly stayed in our rooms.

What was the best thing about your language trip?

Everything was magical; it truly will be a memory for a lifetime. I got to experience amazing things, meet wonderful people, learn about a new culture, and I believe I also grew as a person.

I am extremely grateful for this trip. My lovely friends made the trip extra special. I believe most of them will be lifelong friends. But I can't forget the one who made everything 100 times more fun, our wonderful leader Andrea. She made us all laugh with her fun antics and wonderful energy, a true enthusiast who often walked around barefoot. She did a lot for the trip, creating a tight-knit group from day 1 that felt like a big family by the end. I can't describe everything with words, but everything was just so amazing.

How did it feel to travel during the pandemic?

Initially, it felt strange and unfamiliar to come to Spain, where they handle the pandemic differently. We had to wear masks all the time, which was different, but you got used to it after a while, and to me, it wasn't a big deal. It affected most things, like our activities. Despite this, I feel like everyone was just so happy to get away that we made the best of the situation. Even though we heard the phrase "la mascarilla, por favor" (the mask, please) many times, I think we managed well. In the extreme heat, it was sometimes tough to wear the mask, but we had to accept it. It turned out fine in the end, and I thought we would be more affected before the trip, so there weren't any major issues.

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