It is currently 7:34 AM as I write this blog post, which means I am less than T-4 hours until I am needed at the airport. My journey to Seville will officially begin when I board my first flight to Atlanta at 1:00 PM.
The decision to study abroad for an entire semester was one that I never believed was in my cards. However, when I went to visit my sister in Florence, Italy, I knew immediately that my academic career deserved some long-term European influence. Even though I made this decision the end of my Freshman year, I stuck by it when people told me it would never work out, it’s too expensive, or I would not graduate on time. These were all factors that went into my search for the perfect abroad program.
I began researching multiple programs, locations, tuitions, and courses that were offered in Spain. Because I am a Spanish minor, I knew for a fact that Spain was my perfect fit. Yet, it took a while to find a location that allowed me to budget wisely and also leave with academic credit. I had to consider how much longer it would take me to graduate if the classes did not transfer, if the tuition was going to make a huge hole in my savings account, and if there were other scholarships available that fit this program. In the end, ISA Seville was the most flexible and accommodating out of all of the programs that I saved and sent to various advisors, teachers, and my parents.
My preparation method to going abroad is less is more. Take less stuff, have more room in your suitcase for the things and memories that you gain while abroad. I created a very specific packing list but in the end, I am only taking 5 shirts instead of 15, and 4 pair of shoes instead of 11. My preparation strategy was very flexible. Mentally speaking, I have spent most of my break with my family, trying to soak up as much time with them as possible and also including them in my preparation.
In terms of how I am feeling about going abroad, I could not be more excited. Excited may be an understatement. I have been needing a different pace for some time now, and I have a feeling that the culture and people in Seville will do just that for me. There have been times when I have been overwhelmed, usually when it comes to checklist and preparing, but in general I know that this is an experience of a lifetime and I need to be as optimistic as possible.
In addition to gaining better Spanish speaking skills, I hope to gather a new sense of myself when I go abroad. Being in college almost 3 full years now, I know my UA self, but I believe that this experience will give me a glimpse into the person I strive to be out of college. I am hoping that seeing the world through a different lens and under different circumstances will help shape my outlook on my own life. I want to experience everything that I can during the short time period I am in Spain. I want to hike in Bilbao, ride a camel in Morroco, kayak in Seville, and even jump out of a plane in Switzerland. I am open to all things exciting and willing to step out of my comfort zone if it means there is greater meaning at the end of the day.
Here goes nothing!