I have changed. And I don’t say that lightly.
Something is different about me, and even though I can’t quite put a finger on it, I will happily embrace it. I left Spain (almost two weeks ago, dang.) and I’m filled with this excitement and new goals I’m looking to achieve. Traveling abroad has given me a new perspective of how short life is, how it is perfectly fine to be selfish sometimes, and especially how important it is to pursue your dreams.
Although I will always remember this trip, the things I will treasure the most are the little things: movie night with my two roommates, taking a dance class with my classmates, searching with Sallie for over an hour for a bathroom in Toledo, Chauncy and Meghan’s mock-wedding on the Malaga beach, learning curse words from our amazing Spanish teacher, searching all of Barcelona with Maggie and Miguel (our Professor) to find the police station, and much much more.
Honestly, I believe the people I traveled with made the trip as fun as it was. I had so much anxiety in the weeks prior to the trip, scared I would have trouble finding friends within the group. But, in contrast, the people I traveled with were my favorite part of my experience. If you asked, I could tell you every single person’s name and my favorite memory with them. My experience would have been completely different if I had not traveled in a large group with my University.
My advice to those studying abroad:
- Say yes to everything. You never know if or when you will return or if the opportunities presented will ever become available again. Take advantage of your time and push yourself to say yes.
- Put yourself out there. Hang out with new people. Get to know them outside of class. Remember things they tell you. Pushing yourself to socialize will help you make 35 new best friends, like I did while on my trip.
- Be smart, think things through. Don’t go out clubbing the night before a big exam and expect to do well. Have fun, but don’t neglect your studies.
I will be forever grateful to all those who made my study abroad experience possible: my university, Miguel (our lead professor), and of course my parents.
Thank you for letting me see the world.