When I originally left for my study abroad trip at the beginning of June, I was ecstatic. I had been counting down the minutes until I would be in Madrid, and was unable to contain my excitement as my departure date neared. However, my first two days abroad were less than the perfection that I had imagined. I had a very long trip which contained three different delays, missed connections, and reroutes. Once I arrived in Madrid (14 hours later than I was supposed to arrive), I was told that my luggage had never made it onto one of the planes and that the airline could not locate it. Luckily, they were able to find it and return it to me three days later, but the journey as a whole had been one of the most draining experiences of my life.

Despite being in a foreign country with none of my belongings and having traveled for over 40 hours at that point, I walked through the city and was amazed by the fact that I would be living in such a beautiful place for two months. My biggest anxiety surrounding the program was neither the language barrier nor the cultural differences, but that I was worried that my late arrival would cost me friends. I knew no one going into the program, and the rest of the students had the entire first day to meet and get to know one another while I had been stuck in the airport. However, it seemed as though everyone else had the same fear. While some people clicked and became friends right away or knew others in the program already, some took more time to find their place. Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t know anyone initially because it forced me out of my comfort zone and to become friends with a variety of different people. We were able to bond over our shared experiences, and help one another through the difficulties that come with living in a different country. My new friends and I have already made so many memories in Madrid, and I am looking forward to those yet to come.