I have always been a massive overthinker, so you can probably imagine that my head was about to explode when I was getting ready to go abroad. The problem is, logically I know that I’m in my own head a lot and I know what I should do to get out of it, but when you’re in a totally new place with totally new people that can be rather difficult. Getting out of my own way was one of the biggest challenges I faced this semester, and even though I’ve been me my whole life, I honestly didn’t see it coming. Truly, I thought it would be something more concrete like taking all my classes in Spanish, or having to make all new friends—turns out the scariest things were the ridiculous scenarios I created in my head.
When you’re abroad there are so many whirlwind moments that often leave you distracted simply by life itself. That being said, there are also moments where time seems to stand still and all the sudden you’re alone with nothing to do but think. Take my advice: stay distracted. Not in a bad way of course, but just keep yourself busy, or at least occupied. You could be studying, dancing at the discoteca, taking a walk, or even just watching Netflix in your room. I just know that I was happiest when I was doing my thing and not actively worrying too much about what was going on around me.
Being an overthinker abroad can be tough. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the interactions you have with friends, how you’re being perceived by teachers, and if you’re doing this whole study abroad thing right. But honestly the only thing I can say to that is, who cares?! You are there to have your experience—it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s experience or live up to someone’s expectations, so why worry? You don’t want to spend a ton of time being stressed about other people while abroad, because you could miss out on what could be really great moments with yourself, or amazing adventures with your friends.
Now why am I writing all of this? It seems a little sad for a travel blog post I know, but it felt inauthentic to hop on here and conveniently leave out such an important aspect of my trip. I had to learn (arguably the hard way) that my thoughts are just thoughts and I have the power to decide how I think them. It seems obvious, but pushing past my overactive brain really helped me grow during my time abroad, and I hope a lot of future travelers will learn to push themselves forward too.
If you are, or were, nervous about studying abroad that’s okay! All I ask is that you try and go into it with zero expectations and take every day for what it is. That is how you will make the most of your experience. As much as my overthinking tried to take over sometimes, I’m really proud that I was able to get out of my own way and can happily say that I am leaving Granada with no regrets.
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<p>Hey Y'all! My name is Katie and I am so excited to be studying in Granada, Spain this fall! I go to Occidental College in Los Angeles and am a psychology major with a double minor in linguistics and journalism. I am very active in my school's dance community and have choreographed twice for our all-school showcase called Dance Production. As a dancer, I can't wait to learn more about Flamenco and explore new music from the area. I love going on long walks, trying out new foods, and I'm very much a movie nerd. I'm looking forward to sharing my adventures with you, and hope you enjoy reading along with me!</p>