I'm going to make an analogy, and I hope by the end of my explanation you will understand what I'm trying to share with you, and the analogy is that -- immersing one's self in a new culture is comparable to learning how to walk.
When you learn how to walk no one necessarily teaches you how to, the people around you cheer for your success, but they can't do it for you, it's a task that you will only be able to succeed if you conquer it by yourself. Instinctively when the time comes you just have to do it, so you get up and start trying.
Be aware, no one "nails" such task, you start from the ground before you get up and start walking. You may fall, and that's okay, it will make you conquer the unexpected, the unwanted moment of falling. When you get over it, you will be ready to try again; you will be stronger and more prepared. So you do it, you try -- you walk.
Making the decision of leaving everything you know behind is hard, once you arrive into the unknown of a new culture and country, you will find yourself dancing to the rhythm of the melodies of excitement, fear, and doubt.
I believe everything gets more intense since once you are out of your comfort zone, you will have to adapt your emotions to dealing with the new, and the outcome of such action can surprise you. Some people become more outgoing, others more sentimental, lovable, independent, needy, but all become stronger. While trying to understand your new self you will learn more about you, and that will make you grow, it will lead you to keep walking.
So once you arrive at whichever destination you decide to study abroad at, you should embrace it! Try to immerse yourself in the culture. Hang out with the locals, don't be afraid to talk the foreign language, be bold, make mistakes! You will learn from it... Take dance lessons, cooking lessons, do something you wouldn't do at home.
You already made the choice of going abroad, that's the hardest part, once you are there make the most out of it! It will go by so fast! It has been a month that I've been in Spain, and it's crazy how time flew by, and yet I've learned and done so much stuff in this little period that it feels as if I've been here for a lifetime.
Learn how to walk on your own, and if you fall, look up because it can only get better from there!
Ps: The website meetup.com is pretty big in Europe, especially Spain, they always have meetups such as hikes, excursions, dance lessons, art lessons, music groups, etc. And it's all for free or reasonably priced. So take a look, it is a good way of interacting with the culture and people of the place you are studying abroad.
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<p>My name is Beatriz, but most people call me Bia/Bea. I'm an IES Abroad alumni from the Barcelona liberal arts and business program from the Spring 2017 term. Studying abroad had such a fantastic impact in my life that I decided to do it again, during my last semester of college!</p>