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on April 28, 2019 on 4/28/19 from ,

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad

iHola a todos!

Exactly one month from now I will be saying goodbye to this beautiful and magnificent city. With only one more Spanish exam to go, I feel as if I am almost to the finish line. While it will be bittersweet leaving my second home, I am more optimistic than ever that Spain and I will be meet again. Last week I reflected on my personal growth while studying abroad, I thought this week I would talk about the things I wish I knew before coming here.

“Not everything you see in real life is as picturesque, but it does not mean that you can’t soak and live in the moment.” @ Gran Vía, Madrid.

  • Knew more about my host country: I had thought I knew plenty of information about Spain before coming but this was true. In fact, I was nowhere near prepare for what was coming my way. I realized that simply knowing Spain’s history will not help me navigate my way through the metro or a menu at a restaurant.
  • The stereotypes never end: This is a topic that has come up quite a few times during this semester. Just like everyone else, I too have stereotypes and I am not afraid to admit that. For example, before coming to Spain, I thought all Europeans share the same lifestyle. I have also encountered stereotypes about me ranging from “People from Las Vegas gambles and live on the Strip” to “All Americans surf and have the valley girl accent.” While some stereotypes can be silly, others might come off as hurtful. I have learned to grow a backbone and not be so offended because people sometimes do not know better.
  • You are never fully prepared: I thought I had brought all the essentials that I would need for Spain but in reality that was not the case. No matter how much research you do, there will always be situations that you can’t anticipate. I came here with only one coat and a sweater thinking it would not be as cold as I had thought. Little did I know that even in April, the city is still as cold as it is in January.
  • Fewer expectations = more memories: Putting pressure and expectation on yourself to see and do everything as soon as you arrive will leave you in disappointment. The best thing about studying abroad is that you are not a tourist. There should not be any expectations to see and experience everything in a hurry. Not everything you see in real life is as picturesque, but it does not mean that you can’t soak and live in the moment.
  • Your experiences are yours only: You alone determine your experiences and no one else. People often forget that studying abroad is a chance to open up your eyes to the world and not to hold yourself back. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and feel vulnerable because sometimes the best thing in life is to be unapologetically you.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and feel vulnerable because sometimes the best thing in life is to be unapologetically you.” Mis amigos y yo en El Retiro (My friends and I in Retiro Park).

Hasta Luego,

Lisa

Album of the week: “HΘMΣCΘMING: THE LIVE ALBUM” – Beyoncé