My Final Reflection

Hannah Smith
January 3, 2022

As cliché as it sounds, I cannot believe that I am writing my last Granada blog! The last four months of studying abroad have flown by, but I am not writing this final reflection blog from home… 

During my first month in Granada, I realized that there was no way that I could get to know this beautiful country in only four months. During my second month here, I realized that leaving in December as I had planned would be absolutely too soon. I wanted more time to learn and grow in speaking Spanish and more time to live here. However, I had planned to graduate this semester anyway, so what was stopping me from staying in Spain?! Absolutely nothing. 

So, here I am. Still in Spain with plans to stay for quite a bit longer. When I told my friends and family back home about this decision, it seemed that many assumed I made this decision because my life here has been perfect and glamorous. This couldn’t be further from the truth! My life here has been messy, spontaneous, imperfect, uncomfortable, a little wild and unpredictable, but altogether beautiful and absolutely everything that I’ve needed it to be. 

Many days, especially in the last month, it has seemed that going home would actually be way easier and more comfortable than staying here. When my family came to visit for Christmas and I had to say goodbye to them again, I almost wished I was getting on the plane with them to go home. But if there is one thing I’ve learned here, it is that comfortability comes at a cost. Yes, life appears to be easier when we are comfortable. But when we choose comfortability over adventure and risk, we miss out big time. We miss out on deep joy, fulfillment, depth in relationships, and more. 

I have decided that I will refuse to choose comfortability because it comes at too high of a cost and I am yearning for more. More life, more adventure, more of Spain, more Spanish, more exploration, and more involvement in the community that I have only scratched the surface of. This decision would have seemed crazy to me a year ago or maybe even 6 months ago, but I am confident that I have grown in choosing to walk in faith over fear. 

I am so thankful for every lesson I learned this semester that led me to this decision—speaking Spanish even when I lacked confidence, exploring new places by myself, challenging myself by taking a class at the University of Granada, and every person who encouraged me along the way. My study abroad experience was vastly different from what I anticipated by also immeasurably more than I could have asked for or imagined. I am full of gratitude for every moment I’ve had here and all that is to come. 

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Hannah Smith

<p>Hi! My name is Hannah Dean Smith and I am from Summerfield, North Carolina. I am currently a senior at UNC Chapel Hill and am majoring in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures. I have a passion for authentically connecting with people from different cultures and backgrounds, which led me to study abroad in Granada, Spain. A fun fact about me is that I share a name with the legendary UNC Basketball Coach, Dean Smith -- go Tar Heels! In my free time, I love to read, play soccer, and search for vintage books, furniture, household items, and postcards in local antique stores.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2021 Fall
Home university:
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Hometown:
Summerfield, NC
Major:
Hispanic Studies
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