Studying Abroad has always been a dream of mine. When I started college, I told myself that I was going to make it happen. I’ve upheld that end of the bargain. However, when I decided this I didn’t have half of these thoughts in my head, heck until 2 weeks ago I hadn’t thought some of these things. Preparing to go abroad is way more intense than I imagined. But without further ado, here are the top 10 things that are running through my head now that I only have 10 days left!
- Have I researched enough? The answer to this question is undoubtedly NO! While I’ve looked on Wikipedia, googled “Top 10 Things to Bring to Madrid”, extensively searched for how to dress in Spain, and watched YouTube “Tours of Madrid” many times, I do NOT feel ready. But if I’m being honest with myself, or any of you, I don’t think I could research my way into calm collectivity. Each time I talk to someone new about my upcoming trip to Spain I learn something new. I firmly believe that most of my learning is going to happen while I’m there. So no, I haven’t researched enough, but I don’t think anyone ever could. Half of the experience is just getting there and immersing yourself.
- What am I forgetting to pack? I’m sure many of you have also experienced those moments where you’re on vacation and you realize you left the sunscreen at home, or that you suddenly need that cover-up for the pool, or lord forbid that you didn’t bring enough shorts to account for the fact that you changed 2 times that day! However, when packing for 2 months you reach a whole new level of “Am I forgetting something?”. I have been making copies of passports and credit cards, buying common medicines (different brands), packing away electronic converters so my computer doesn’t explode, and honestly, just trying to pack away little pieces of home to make my first time living abroad an easier transition. Many people have warned me about the beast of over packing… yes I will admit I am an over packer. Yes I realize that I can wash my clothes while I’m there. But, just in case, I’m going to pack some space bags too.
- Will I immediately be identified as a tourist? Undoubtedly yes. While I’ve attempted to pack clothes that fit in with the cultural norms of Spain (it’s much more conservative and classy guys), my horrible Spanish accent will give me away in less than 5 seconds. The fact that I have no idea where I’m going should also be a good clue for them.
- What will it be like to live in a different time zone? How will it be communicating with my family? This is just a reality that can’t be changed. Hopefully, mom won’t mind phone calls at 3 pm or 8 am. I’ll just have to do my best.
- Will my Spanish improve? The goal – YES! Immersion is said to be the best way to learn a language. That alongside my Spanish classes while I’m there should vastly improve my ability to speak Spanish!
- Will I like the food? It all looks delicious, but a lot of it is … more creative than my typical cuisine? It’s not everyday that I sit down to eat paella, octopus, or Oreja de Cerdo (Pigs Ear). However, one things for sure, I am ready for some churros!!!
- How will I manage to capture all of the beauty of Europe and the experiences of my time abroad?! I can’t wait to share all of my experiences with you all, but I don’t know if my 16 GB chip will be able to store it! (Even if I do upload the pics every day… haha #photoobsessed)
- Will I learn as much about the culture as I am hoping for? Now I admit that it’s lofty to imagine learning everything about being Spanish in just 2 months. However, I really want to learn to cook the food, to dance (maybe not the flamenco…. that’s really intense) a little, and to understand the complexity of another culture! Isn’t that one of the main reasons why anyone studies abroad?
- Where am I going to travel?! What will I see? Europe is such an amazing, beautiful, and historical place. I want to see it all! Top 5 for this trip are – Ireland (to see my sister Lauren – love ya sis), Portugal, France, Andorra, and maybe Italy!
- Will I be the same person when I return? Some people say yes, others say no. I hope to use this experience to learn more about myself and the world around me. If I change a little in the process, well I’m sure it’s for the best!
And there you have it folks! There are my top 10 thoughts 10 days before I leave! Feel free to follow my journey and to ask me questions.