Whether we like it or not, a major part of our lives consists of creating and following through with daily routines and rituals: when we wake up in the morning, how we like our coffee, what modes of transportation we take, and how we spend our free time. Just as quickly as we develop these routines, they quickly become a part of ourselves and we all recognize that same dread when all of a sudden they have to change.
I recognize this trend all too well. At school my days are filled with activity-I go to class, attend weekly meetings and participate in my extracurriculars. It is predictable and comfortable, and I am happy to know what I am doing, what is coming and what I can expect. I get stressed when something happens out of the blue or I have to make changes to the familiar. Given this mindset, I never expected to be so happy in changing my daily routine while studying abroad.
Being in a multi-city program has provided me with the opportunity to live three different lives across three different cultures, but more than ever it has taught me the importance of being flexible in doing so. Two weeks in a city gives you just enough time to dip your toes in and experience something new before moving on to the next. It is beautifully overwhelming and unpredictable, forcing you to face the unfamiliar head-on and embrace challenges as they arise. After five weeks in the program, I am no longer afraid of saying good-bye or having to move on and adapt to something new. I have left behind scheduling every hour of each day in my planner and come to embrace this previously unfamiliar lifestyle of constantly changing my routine and enjoying time to myself. Had I not done so, I may not have developed an appreciation of some of my favorite monuments in Paris, discovered new places to visit in Rome or enjoyed a spontaneous cappuccino and slice of cake at the café on our street here in Madrid. I never thought that I would fall so in love with living this different, unpredictable life.
Studying abroad has taught me that every day is an adventure, and there is always something new to be found if you look for it-it has just taken more flexibility and open-mindedness than I am used to having. As I finish my cappuccino here at La Rollerie, I smile knowing that these are the things I will remember and bring back when I return to the States in two weeks. Until then, I cannot wait to keep exploring and creating my story.
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Hannah is a rising senior at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, majoring in Human and Social Development with minors in Psychology and Education. When she is not in class, Hannah serves as Vice President of Coordinators on the Panhellenic Executive Board and a member of the Student Government Senate as well as being a member of the Homecoming Executive Committee and Kappa Kappa Gamma. While she has been on a safari in Africa and tried fresh sushi in Japan, this will be her first time studying and traveling in Western Europe, a dream of hers since high school. She is excited to document her adventures and hopes to share this blog on the study abroad adventure of a lifetime.