Is there “good” in “goodbye?”

Headshot of Jacob Chan.
Jacob Chan
May 12, 2023
Picture of Madrid sky at night overlooking Plaza de España.

Well, it’s difficult to say the least that my study abroad experience and these blog posts have come to an end. Nevertheless, it feels appropriate that I began these blog posts with something cheesy and am ending these blog posts with something cheesy :). Studying abroad for a semester had always been a dream of mine and the realization that this is my last blog post only adds fuel to the fire. 

As the wise Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot recently. This past week, we had our final IES Abroad lunch and it was where I had to say my final goodbyes to all of the wonderful people I’ve met in Madrid: fellow students, professors, IES Abroad staff, etc.

I do have to give credit to Winnie the Pooh. After all, he was right. To be quite honest, the beginning of my study abroad experience was… difficult. I remember that during those first 2 weeks, I would constantly google “How many days until May 13th?” (which would be the program end date). It was a hard adjustment filled with anxiety and fear and I couldn’t wait to leave. Looking back now, I can’t believe I ever thought that. 

When looking for the “good” in “goodbye,” I try to remember what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for not only having the experience to study abroad in the first place, but also the opportunity to document my experiences as well. I’m grateful that I was able to experience life in a different country, culture and language. Most of all, I’m grateful for the people that I’ve met and the people who make saying goodbye so hard. On a related note, there is something important I want to mention. 

I went for a walk with a friend the other day and we were reflecting on all of our experiences abroad and the fun memories that we made together. I mentioned that I was originally not supposed to be in Madrid for this semester and that I’m glad it all worked out that way (again, sorry for all of the cheesiness :)). They were telling me that saying bye is hard and that there were no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. 

Nevertheless, in that conversation, we came to an important conclusion: there is “good” in “goodbye.” We agreed that if something made saying “goodbye” so difficult that it was worth it. Now, you may be thinking, what the heck does that mean? Honestly, I’m still kind of confused but I try to think of it like the Winnie the Pooh quote. I mean, things did work out in the end in an incredible way and I’m glad that I didn’t let that initial roadblock get in the way of the rest. 

Of course, this also isn’t a goodbye! I’m grateful that I still have all of these wonderful memories from the past 4 months and for all of the friends that I got to make. I even stole someone’s idea of getting a postcard and asking all of my friends to sign it with a fun memory we had or just a simple note (kind of like a yearbook). Of course, while I am very sad that this experience has finally come to an end, I’m grateful that I was able to document it and make the most of it as I could. Thank you to everyone who has read these blogs and to IES Abroad for allowing me to document my experiences. If you’re considering study abroad, my biggest tip is to enjoy it while you can! It will go by faster than you think :) 

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Picture of lending library at the Príncipe Pio Mall in Madrid.
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Headshot of Jacob Chan.

Jacob Chan

My name is Jacob and I am a current junior at Haverford College. I love all things related to learning about different cultures whether it be food, language, customs, etc. In my free time, you can typically find me playing video games, listening to music, or just spending time with friends!

2023 Spring
Home University:
Haverford College
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