I’m a procrastinator. I leave to study abroad in Barcelona in two days, and I’ve yet to load my first suitcase up. I have a general idea of what I’m going to bring – it’s all laid out on my bedroom floor, but I have a long way to go. And this morning, instead of starting to pack, I’ve decided to write this blog post. Because I’m still being productive that way, right?
I think I’m procrastinating so much because it hasn’t really hit me that I leave in 48 hours. Studying abroad has been a given for me since I was in high school. I always knew I wanted to do it, but it was something I’d do “one day.” After two and a half years of undergrad, that “one day” is suddenly approaching – fast.
My biggest goal for the trip is to improve my Spanish, which actually might be pretty hard. I’m a Spanish major, and I’ve been taking Spanish classes for nine years. But I’ve never been fully immersed in a Spanish-speaking environment. In fact, I’ve never even had a native Spanish speaker as a teacher. Learning to communicate with my host family will be a challenge for sure. Right now, I’m thinking it might take me a few weeks to become comfortable even communicating simple thoughts with my family. I’ll be worried my accent isn’t perfect. Am I conjugating right? Should I refer to them all “usted”? Will I accidentally insult them if I mess up a word?
The pre-trip preparation has been stressful to say the least (finding out I lost my passport two months ago didn’t help), but I haven’t taken enough time to acknowledge the excitement that lingers underneath. I’ve been to Italy and Switzerland in high school, but that’s where my international experience stops. I’m so thrilled thinking about spending the next three months traveling around Europe with two of my best friends and new friends that I know I’ll make along the way.
A few months ago, my two friends, Claire and Allison, and I made a list of the places we want to go visit during our time in Europe. Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, London, Budapest, etc. For the past few weeks, when I’ve gotten nervous or stressed about living in a foreign country, I go back to that list on my phone. I think about all the amazing things that are out there that I haven’t seen yet. I’m so lucky I have the opportunity to go on a trip like this, and I hope to come back with a better understanding of the world we live in.
Adios for now! Next stop: Spain.