New Decade, New Me: Resolutions For My Semester Abroad

Madison Kelly
January 2, 2020

“I used to just crastinate. Then I decided to go pro.”

I never cease to amaze myself with new and creative ways I come up with to avoid any actual responsibilities. Big test the next day? My entire room is getting cleaned. Interview coming up? I’ll start knitting a sweater. And teach myself to knit. Then go out and buy yarn, knitting needles, and… anything else I need to knit a sweater? I’ll have to spend an hour on Google searching before I even start! This is going to take all night!

So it’s no surprise to me that one week before my flight to Quito, Ecuador, I find myself sitting on the floor of my room, surrounded by empty suitcases and piles of clothes. Luckily, I have found a New and Improved™ way to procrastinate: this blog! I am so excited to have this opportunity to share my journey with everyone who’s interested - so, if you’re out there somewhere and I actually have a reader other than my mom (hi, mom!), let me introduce myself. 

My name is Madi (she/her pronouns), and I am a junior at the University of Vermont, studying Linguistics, Spanish, and aiming for a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). I’ve done my fair share of traveling before - my family moved abroad when I was four, and I’ve been doing my best to see as much as I can of the world ever since. Last summer, I was lucky enough to earn a scholarship allowing me to teach English in South Africa, and after that position ended I flew straight to Ukraine to continue teaching. However, this coming semester will be the longest I’ve ever spent abroad without my family or friends. This doesn’t necessarily scare me, but it does put into perspective how new and big this upcoming adventure really is.

My flight leaves right after New Year’s, so I thought it would be appropriate to make a few Quito-related New Year’s resolutions:

Find a favorite local band and watch them perform.

This is a resolution I am really excited for. I live in Burlington, Vermont, a weird, hippie little city where there is no shortage of local music. I'm hoping that having the opportunity to hear some Quito musicians will simultaneously help improve my Spanish and assuage any homesickness that might come up.

Try to join a local soccer team.

I’ve never been the best at soccer, but I’ve always had a lot of fun playing in high school and on intramural teams. Sports can be a great way to bond with new people, and I am sure I’ll be looking for as many chances as I can get to meet new friends while I’m there. Even if I end up being the gringa on the bench...

Hop on a bus and explore the city.

For a while, this has been one of my favorite ways to explore a new place. Whenever I first have an afternoon to myself, I want to get on a bus and ride it the entire route. It’s a great way to get more familiar with local transportation, as well as see what's around! Of course, public transportation is not always the safest, so if anyone else is thinking of doing something similar, make sure you do research first!

Get in shape.

Yeah, yeah, but it’s a classic. I’m not exactly out of shape, but let’s just say that this past semester, my housemate ran a marathon (an actual marathon) while my other housemates and I had our own sort of marathon, the Harry Potter movie variety, with plenty of candy and popcorn. But in Quito I’ll have so many opportunities to hike and walk everywhere that it’ll be impossible not to start exercising more! This one will be easy, right? Right?

Keep a gratitude journal. 

I am an avid journaler right now, but something I’ve recently noticed is that my journal entries are often overwhelmingly full of everything that’s going wrong, and I want to make a conscious effort to document everything going right as well. 

There’s so much more I am hoping to experience and get done while in Ecuador. But, honestly, no matter how many resolutions or goals I make, I have no way of knowing what my time there is really going to be like, and that’s what is most exciting about this whole semester. Thanks for reading, and keep up with my blog for the next few months to see if I can actually manage to keep up with a resolution for once...

Madison Kelly

<p>My name is Madi Kelly, and I am a junior at the University of Vermont. I am studying Linguistics and Spanish, with a minor in Deaf Studies. I am hoping to be an ESL teacher, and I have taught abroad in Ukraine and South Africa so far, but I have never been to South America, and I can’t wait to see Ecuador!</p>

2020 Spring
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Barrington, RI
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