It’s difficult to register that you’re leaving for a month while you're packing. As you fold socks and underwear while staring at a detailed checklist it can seem more like you're on your way to summer camp than an international learning experience. The moment it hit me that I was going to Salamanca and more importantly traveling abroad, alone for the first time, was on the plane. As the flight tracker on the screen in front of me, representing my journey with a broken red line, stretched out between continents, I suddenly understood that Salamanca was no longer a dream but a reality.
Those seven hours of travel give you nothing but large amounts of time to think over the weeks ahead, as well as to confront all your fears and expectations for the journey ahead. I have been to over fifteen different countries, never alone, but the idea of joining a different culture does not concern me greatly. What I am most afraid of and what I’m most prepared to struggle with, is not necessarily the language but my very own identity. I fear that I will be expected to speak and write with greater fluency than others, due to the fact that I am Puerto Rican. I fear that I will be forced to keep my Jewish faith a secret from locals, due to possible pre-conceived misconceptions. I am most afraid, that in a traditional classroom environment, my learning disability will make it difficult to catch up to the level of other students.
Just because I am worried about all of these things does not mean I will let them get in my way. Being able to travel to Salamanca, Spain through IES is a privilege. I am so excited to conquer and overcome these fears. This opportunity will not only give me the confidence to continue to travel alone, outside of the united states, as a woman but will also allow me to achieve a much higher fluency in a shorter period of time.
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<p>I am a rising senior at Sarah Lawrence College, double-majoring in Spanish and Journalism. When I'm not studying, I love practicing Jiu Jitsu and cooking in my tiny kitchen. As a Puerto Rican Jew, I love cooking everything, from my great grandmother's noodle kugel to my mom's tostones. My dream is to travel to every continent and as of right now, I have been to more than fifteen different countries.</p>