Studying Abroad in Spain – An Interview with Shelly Ray


This travel blogger interview series feature interviews with travel bloggers and nomads. If you are a travel blogger and a writer, and have something to share with your readers, please get in touch with me at juliecao@alwaysonthewaytravel.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

In this travel blogger interview, let us meet Shelly Ray from shellyray.com. Shelly is an Austin, Texas native who has loved writing for as long as she can remember. She originally started her blog three years ago to write about her semester abroad in Spain, so you can read all about my time abroad in the “study abroad” section of her blog. However, last summer she started blogging about her life, things she find interesting or funny, books she have read, and people she have met. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram if you are a 20-something who is looking for a blog you can relate to.

Travel Blogger interview with Shelly Ray

“I knew studying abroad would be a great opportunity to do something that scares me, but that will be beneficial in the end. ” – by Shelly Ray (photo credit)

Welcome Shelly! Tell us about yourself, your blog and your coming adventure.

I started my blog over three years ago, while I was studying abroad in Spain. I have always loved writing, and I thought a blog would be a great way to document my travels, while also keeping my friends and family aware of what I was up to while abroad. Once I graduated from college, I decided to continue blogging about my life, advice I have for other 20-somethings, places that I travel to, books I read, and people I meet.

Though I am not exactly a travel blogger, I do love traveling and I made it my goal to go on more trips in 2017. So far I’ve been to Fort Worth, which I recently wrote about on my blog, as well as Las Vegas, which I will write about soon. This July I will be traveling to Colorado with my family, so I’m sure I’ll write about that too!

Sounds exciting! What made you decide to go on an exchange program in Spain?

Although I have always been a fairly timid person, I also tend to do things that are outside my comfort zone a lot, and I always feel happy after I do. So I knew studying abroad would be a great opportunity to do something that scares me, but that will be beneficial in the end.

I chose Spain because I was studying Spanish in school, and wanted a way to learn the language better. I had always heard that immersing yourself in the culture and being around people who speak the language is the best way to learn. My school also happened to offer an exchange program to Seville, Spain, so that was ultimately how I decided to go there.

As revealed in your blog, you have been to other European and African countries when you study abroad. Which country is your favorite?

That’s a tough one. I would have to say Morocco was my overall favorite, not only because it was so beautiful, but because I got to experience a culture that was so different from my own in the US, and even very different from the culture in Spain. While I was there I got to ride a camel, and tour the amazing town of Chefchaouen.

Travel blogger interview with Shelly Ray

Camel Riding in Morocco/Photo credit: Shelly Ray

You have study abroad in Spain, what is one of your favorite places there and why?

In the city I was living in, Seville, my favorite thing to do was just take walks along the river, Guadalquivir, which runs through the city. It was especially nice to walk along the river at night. It is one of the sites I miss most.

As far as the other cities in Spain, my favorite one I visited was definitely Barcelona. There, my favorite place was the Parque Güell. I will admit it is a tourist attraction, but for good reason.

What is your one of your favorite moments of traveling in Europe/studying abroad?

One of my best memories is traveling Italy with one of my best friends. We went to Venice and Florence and had a great time exploring a new country together!

Travel blogger interview with Shelly Ray

Traveling in Florence, Italy/Photo credit: Shelly Ray

What is the biggest pet peeve of yours?

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who aren’t open minded and don’t take the time to try to put themselves in another person’s shoes. One of my favorite things about traveling was learning about different cultures and seeing the world from a new perspective, and it always annoyed me when others couldn’t do the same.

Have you had any disasters or any embarrassing moments?

One embarrassing moment that comes to mind is when I went to a pharmacy to buy medicine when I was sick. While trying to explain to the clerk what I needed, I accidentally told him that I had had a cough for 2 years instead of two weeks! He looked at me kind of funny before I realized I misspoke and corrected myself.

Would you like to share some important lessons youve learned from your travels.

I learned a lot of lessons while abroad. Like I mentioned above, I learned how to see the world from a different perspective and understand different cultures better which I think is very important. Another big lesson I learned was how to be independent. I traveled a lot by myself and got great experience with figuring things out for myself, such as how to get around a new city using public transportation.

 If you would live anywhere in this world now, aside from USA and Spain, where would you choose to live?

I think I would live somewhere in the UK, either London or maybe Dublin. Those were two of my favorite cities I visited in Europe, and they both seem like they would be great places to live! Plus they speak English, which is always a plus. 🙂

Travel blogger interview with Shelly Ray

London, UK/Photo credit: Shelly Ray

I visited Dublin in the Fall and it is one of my favorite European cities as well. Would you like to share one of the Spanish slangs and tell us the meaning.

¡Qué guay! It means “how cool!” Guay was one of those words I heard all the time in Spain, and it soon became part of my everyday vocabulary.

Thanks Shelly Ray for a wonderful interview. Enjoy your coming travels in Colorado!

Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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