The Beginning of a New Adventure

Kiana Molitor
January 13, 2018
Kiana Molitor IES Abroad Correspondent

Bags are packed, flights are booked, and adventure awaits!


Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

My name is Kiana Molitor, and this semester I am substituting my sunny Southern California college life for the hustle and bustle lifestyle of a Madrileña. I can’t wait to begin my experience with IES Abroad Madrid Area and Language Studies in Spain. Furthermore, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share the experience with a larger audience via this blog.

To understand the journey I’m about to undergo, first we must revisit paths already traveled.

I was born and raised in a small town called Walla Walla, Washington. At a very young age, I fell in love with traveling to new places, experiencing new cultures, and embracing unknown adventures. My first introduction to the world beyond United States boarders occurred when my family embarked on a six-month journey throughout South America and Mexico. Once exposed to the world’s seemingly endless array of new discoveries and adventures, traveling became similar to that of an addiction - to which I was constantly seeking my next travel happy high. Now it seems as though traveling is an inherent part of who I am, as it has served as the inspiration for many of my motivations and actions.

During my college career I have tried to take advantage of any and all travel opportunities. Up to this point, I’ve found myself studying politics in central Europe, sailing throughout Asia and Africa on Semester at Sea, teaching English in Central America, and interning in Southern Spain. I’m no stranger to condensing my life into a suitcase only to rebuild it on the other side of the world. Throughout my adventures, I have learned that the reality of traveling is anything but the expected. I’ve experienced everything from idealistic travel experiences to complete chaotic meltdowns. More than anything though, I’ve witnessed the astounding growth that results when one pushes the realms of their comfort zone and seeks to learn more about themself and the world around them.

With this personal growth in mind, I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to continue my passion of exploring the world this spring in Spain! In these moments preceding the adventure, I’m often filled with overwhelmingly strong and sometimes conflicting emotions. Thus, I’ve compiled my best tips for anyone about to take a leap of faith and begin a semester abroad. Hopefully these tips help address some of the stresses, excitement, and anxieties that accompany a pivotal change!

  1. Try your best not to create too many expectations. Like any experience, studying abroad will have its highlights and lowlights. Don’t expect to be having the best time of your life 24/7, but also don’t expect the worse. Try to allow things to unfold as they naturally will and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
  2. Control the “controllables.” It may feel like almost everything is out of your control in the midst of such monumental change, but try to identify and focus on things within your own control, such as your attitude going into the adventure.
  3. Document as much as you can (but not to the point that it takes away from your actual experience). These are going to be precious memories that you will be able to look back on forever. If you don’t journal, now is the perfect time to start!
  4. Don’t be upset at yourself if you experience conflicting emotions leaving behind friends, family, loved ones, etc. Instead, view your attachments to home as a blessing that you have things and people that enrich your life and make leaving difficult.
  5. Take a moment to remind yourself how fortunate you are to be in a position that allows you to embrace an adventure others could only dream of pursuing. 
  6. Determine a few goals going into your study abroad experience. What do you seek to get out of this opportunity?
  7. Lastly, it’s perfectly normal and expected to have doubts, fears, and concerns when packing your entire life into a suitcase and trekking halfway across the world. It is not okay, however, to allow fearful hesitations restrain you from experiencing all the world has to offer. You owe it to yourself not to allow fear to hold you back.

It’s a mystery as to what adventures, challenges, and surprises Madrid has in store for me, but I can assure you it will be anything but boring. I invite you to travel along with me via this blog as I embrace the unknown journey ahead.

With gratitude,

Kiana XX

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Kiana Molitor

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:2.35pt; margin-right:10.6pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.0pt"><span style="line-height:115%">I'm Kiana Molitor, a young 20-something year old who happens to be many things, including but not limited to: an optimistic idealist, an adventure enthusiast, a jet set travel bug, and a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I am also a Global business student at the University of Redlands. I jump at all opportunities that push me outside of my comfort zone and try to embrace the unknown.</span></p>

2018 Spring
Home University:
University of Redlands
Walla Walla, WA
International Business
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