One Week to Granada: Trying Not to Panic (but I'm so Excited)

Lucy Mayer
August 26, 2021

In this moment anticipating my trip to Spain I feel that my thoughts and current state of being are best captured in “stream of consciousness” style writing, so bear with me. In exactly one week I will be in the air and on my way to spend my entire semester abroad in Granada. I’m having trouble comprehending that the idea I’ve had in my head for so long is finally becoming a reality, but I am truly so excited. Something my dad told me he loved the most about his time abroad were the smells. Not the smell of fresh bread from a bakery, not the smell of a specific type of local flower, but rather, the smelling experience in general. “It’s a whole new world of smells,” he would say. And it’s true. The smells I will smell in Granada will be completely different from Minnesota smells and Massachusetts smells. You’re probably wondering why a new smell is at the top of my list of things I’m excited about. The truth is, I’m excited about all the subtle and not-so-subtle differences I will encounter in Spain. I can’t wait to see what the doorknobs look like and to fiddle with the electrical outlet to charge my phone. I can’t wait to eat dinner at 10pm like it’s no big deal, meet new people, and immerse myself in a new way of life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m nervous. I even wrote down a “things I’m stressed about” list on my notepad. No, not a to-do list, because some of the things on that list couldn’t even be crossed off. So maybe it wasn’t the most productive thing to do, but it made me realize that a trip abroad requires preparation in both mental and physical realms.

  1. My family and friends can attest to my horrible navigation skills and it definitely has me thinking: if I can’t remember which way I entered the gas station, how will I manage to direct myself through a new city in a new country alone? 
  2. Writing and reading in Spanish are good skills of mine, but speaking is tough. I tend to overthink every word that comes out of my mouth. I realize that I have to make mistakes in order to learn, and I’ve been trying to mentally prepare for inevitable embarrassment. 
  3. When it comes to packing, I’m a mess there too. At this point, I’m trying not to panic while my clothes and shoes are sprawled out next to my suitcase. When I’m not focused on how I can pack most efficiently, my mind is wandering to all the things that can go wrong in the airport. Flying during a global pandemic is extra stressful and I’m hoping I can have everything lined up before I leave so that I don’t run into issues. 

With many uncertainties floating around, I know one thing for certain, and it is that the IES Abroad Granada faculty and staff are incredible people. I have only met them a couple of times on Zoom and yet I already feel welcomed and at home. With this strong network of support, I feel much better. My personality prepares me for the worst, but I have to trust that things will work out and I have the tools I need to succeed. I can’t even express the gratitude and joy I have for this upcoming journey, and I look forward to sharing it in my future blog posts. Stay tuned!

Lucy Mayer

<p>Hi! My name is Lucy Mayer and I am a senior at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts majoring in Biology and minoring in Hispanic Studies. This fall I am studying abroad in Granada, Spain. I am super excited to explore the beautiful landscape and architecture in Granada, and hope to improve my speaking ability in Spanish. After graduating from Brandeis, I would like to do molecular biology research and eventually go on to pursue a Ph.D. related to science or science education. I am passionate about teaching and I would love to be a professor one day! In my free time, I love to figure skate (I have been a figure skater since I was 10 years old), dance, draw, paint, and go on nature runs.</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
Brandeis University
Minneapolis, MN
Biological Sciences
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