Pre departure Change

Ella Rivera headshot
Ella Rivera
September 10, 2023
A picture of me at my going away party

Change. Something we all fear yet happens so naturally. We as people are in a constant motion of change whether they are big changes like your job, which school you go to, or little changes like trying a new restaurant. But it’s something we must take with our shoulders to the wheel. Leaving for a study abroad was one of those changes that I needed to just face the music. I have never left for school before since I am a commuter at my home school Penn State Berks. In that case, perhaps many study abroad students have some experience saying goodbye to their families and embracing college for the first time. Studying abroad I have found is not much different besides the time zone change. The sadness and nerves that come the week before you leave are normal and valid but being here only for a few days you gain new fears and new things to be nervous about. As well as new joys and feelings of excitement.

My family, friends, and coworkers made my departure really special for me. They sent me off with so much love and well wishes I knew that I would be able to succeed in this new place. My mom and closest friends threw me a little bon voyage, going away party which made me excited to go away because the reality of it was starting to hit me. I work at a local coffee shop back home and have made great connections with the customers who regularly visit the coffee shop. On my last shift, one of my customers named Lina gave me her very own personalized bracelet that is meant for new journeys and well wishes that she got in Greece. It meant so much that she even thought to send me off with a cute good luck bracelet, but it meant even more that it was her personal one. This bracelet was very special to her because hers was blessed by a monk during one of her trips to Greece. That’s the kind of love and support I feel and will continue to feel here in Granada.

As soon as I landed here, I got into my travel mode. Instead of my anxieties taking over, I was able to absorb all that was happening around me. I am in awe that I am in another country and still can't believe I'm living here. Times flies once you are here. The people take very good care of you and are here for all that you need. You have your travel day to relax and then you are thrown into orientation, which is a good thing because it doesn’t let you sit in your fears or anxieties. The orientation groups help you get accustomed to the city and meet people. Many times in class they take you around the city to familiarize yourself with it. Being here is exhausting mentally and physically in the best way possible. I've only been here a week and I’m only just starting to get a full night's rest. I've fully been taking advantage of the siesta culture and catching up on my naps then. But as the days progress, I am adjusting and finding the time and energy to explore and take in this new life. Enjoy the time during origination, it's a lot and you’ll be doing a lot. So, there's no need to push yourself to explore or see everything in the first week. Focus on yourself making sure everything is perfectly Zen within you and focus on making friends and mingling as much as possible. Then when the weekend comes, and you have less school, allow yourself to get lost in all that the city has to offer.

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Ella Rivera headshot

Ella Rivera

I love to learn about history and other cultures which is why I chose to study in Europe. Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies.I am an avid coffee drinker my go to drink is a coldbrew lemonade which is a specialty from the coffeeshop I work at.

2023 Fall
Home University:
Penn State University
Global Studies
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