As Julie Andrews said in “The Sound of Music”, “Let’s start from the very beginning because its a very good place to start”…
Before anyone studies abroad or travels anywhere there was a decision made to do so. In the moment deciding to pick up everything and move to a a place with a new culture, strange food, and a mountain of unknowns it can seem like the biggest decision of your life. Or at least it did to me, a young university student that had never even moved out of her parent’s house. Changing everything that I had ever known was not going to be easy, but adventure was waiting and I wasn’t going to let it pass me by.
Some might think that the beginning of an adventure is normally daring and scary, with a huge jump of faith that risks it all, and on one hand making the decision to leave was. However, I didn’t find a magical wardrobe in a wardrobe, nor did I receive a letter from Hogwarts(although I was hoping that I might), and a it didn’t take place on the planet Tatooine. No, it took place in an office with piles and piles of paperwork, asking the smallest questions like, ‘Should I bring a padlock or a combination lock for hostel stays?’ or ‘When meeting a new person do you hug, kiss or handshake?’. This was going to be an adventure that truly has changed my life. However, in reality it didn’t begin with a huge leap of faith but rather a slow stroll down the street that lead to a plane, into a new country, and eventually to a new home.
When making the actual decision, what really pushed me to go for it was the idea that it was only for a year, really less than a year. In the big picture of things leaving, for what at the time seem like forever, I kept reminding myself that it wasn’t. A year of life is really just a speck of time when looking at all the time wecould possible have in our lives; and daily people are choosing to spend a part of their lives in a new country. With globalization running rampant across the world people are moving and experiencing new cultures everyday; and I wanted to join in on the fun. So, the decision as a big ‘YES’, to coming to Spain and changing everything that I had ever know for just a little while.
I also cannot forget to express that I was truly blessed to even have opportunity to decide ‘yes’, not everyone has the ability to do so. But if you are looking into studying abroad don’t let that opportunity slip by. It is an experience that you will never forget. You will look back on the stress of visa paperwork and the questions of what to pack and what not to pack and realize that if you could, you would do it all over again.
Coming to Spain for the amount of time that I did in the area that I chose was the best decision I could have made. I now speak a second language (or at least try to) and I have friends from all around the world. Although it all has been wonderful, not every single second was all sunsets and daisies, there were moments where I truly wondered if this is were I was supposed to be. Their were moments of loneliness in a new country that, although the people looked normal and friendly from the outside, I had a hard time connecting with them because of cultural differences and language barriers. There were moments almost everyday that would present a new struggle to face but its all worth it.
Studying abroad has its pros and it cons but it is definite the pros out weigh the cons. Find the place in the world that fits your personality and take that risky, daring, exciting stroll down the street and find your self a new home. I cannot express how worth it is to say ‘yes’ to doing something like this. So, begin the stroll and don’t look back.