Am I Ready To Go? We'll Soon Find Out

Katrina Matthews-Mcgann
August 1, 2016

¡Hola amigos!

My name is Katrina and this semester I’ll be studying in Salamanca, Spain. You, dear reader, will soon be witness to the good, the bad, and the truly embarrassing of my travels in Southern Europe as I recount my life abroad through the most modern of mediums: the Blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my (soon-to-be) adventures and that you will pardon my eventual digressions and distractions as I navigate this new (for me) form of sharing. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.

Important things you should know about me:

1.     I hail from the rainy and zany state of Oregon and am a firm believer that rain is the best type of weather out there (sorry Summer fans).

2.     I’m entering my third year of school as an International Relations major at my home institution, Pomona College, located in sunny Southern California (while I do appreciate the sun while I’m at school, it always comes as a relief when I return home to gray clouds and heavy precipitation during breaks).

3.     When people ask me what I like to do for fun I quickly try to think of a more exciting answer than “read, but nine times out of ten, that’s the answer that comes out of mouth because a) I think reading is fun and b) refer to a.

4.     I’m an IDEA blogger which basically means I have the opportunity to bring my ethnic and cultural background to the forefront of my experiences and (hopefully) inspire other students of color, women, underrepresented students, etc. to study abroad themselves.

5.     I really like making lists; grocery lists, to-do lists, “Things you should know about me” lists, whatever. So please prepare yourself now to see some type of list (such as this one) in every one of my blog posts.

Now that the introductions are out of the way I guess it’s time to let you know how I’m feeling about my impending study abroad journey. With less than a month to go before I jet set across the world, most people would think that I’m at that can’t-sit-still, on the edge of my seat excited stage. I mean, that’s how anyone else would feel if they were about to spend four months in a new, exciting place. It’s how I should be feeling right about now… right? Right? Wrong. I’m actually kind of freaking out. Like, really freaking.

I’d like to think I’m approaching the start of my trip with a calm, collected attitude, and it may be that I have projected this image of a prepared, non-worried Katrina unto others with no problem. However, I know the reality is something completely different. When people ask me about my trip, I’ve come to repeat the same thing over and over again. But what comes out of my mouth is not the same as what I’m actually thinking. For example:

Question: “Are you excited to be going to Spain soon?”

What I’m saying: Yeah, I’m getting really excited to study abroad. Can’t wait!

What I’m actually thinking: I’m getting really freaked out about this and the thought of being on my own in other country kind of makes me want to hurl  but as I’ve just met you and you’re only politely asking me about this I will save you from my inner crazy.

Q: “What fun things are you planning on doing while you’re there?”

Saying: Well, I’m going to go to this museum on this day, this cultural district another day, make a bunch of new friends and basically have an awesome time.

Thinking: Ummmm... I was planning on eating at some point?

Q: “What’s the weather going to be like while you’re there during Fall semester? Do you have the right clothes picked out?”

Saying: Uh, I think the weather is temperate for the most part, then colder during winter, obviously.

Thinking: What is the weather like there? Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. I’m completely unprepared for this, I don’t even know if it rains or snows (or both) in the winter in Spain. What am I doing? I can’t live in another country for four months! I don’t even know if I have the right clothes for this? Why am I not more prepared?! AHHHHHH!!

Suffice it to say, one of the main things I‘ve learned from these conversations is that I might want to put a little more effort into my pre-departure preparation.

At this point you may be thinking to yourself: “Wow, this girl is kind of crazy. Why am I still reading her blog?” Well reader, I’d like to think it’s due to my eloquent musings on the nat. However, much like a car wreck on the side of the freeway, you continue reading my blog because you want to catch a glimpse of the gory, intimate details that is me trying to get my life together in time for me to enjoy this impending adventure (or if you’re my family, you’re reading this blog because you have a familial obligation to do so and know I will be asking you on the regular if you’ve read it).

No matter the reason you’re here, I’m glad you’ve taken this time to get to know me and hope you stick around for a semester of adventure, mistakes (there will be many, let me warn you now), learning and laughter. Of course there will be the occasional bouts of homesickness and tears but for the most part, it should be an all-around good time. I’m going to make every effort to make my upcoming blog posts as motivational and educational as possible, but again, please pardon me if I run off on any emotionally heightened tangents.

I really do hope you enjoy this blog reader, as much as I really hope I’ll be able to find a definite answer to what the weather is like in Spain during the fall.

¡Hasta próxima vez!


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Katrina Matthews-Mcgann

<p>I&#39;m a third year college student excited about seeing everything this amazing planet has to offer. Originally from Oregon, I&#39;ve slowly been finding my place in the world through travels throughout North America, China, and now Europe! I hope this blog offers advice, inspiration, and a bit of humor for any current and future travelers.</p>

2016 Fall
Home University:
Pomona College
International Relations
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