When Dreams Become Reality: My First Month Living Abroad

Natalia Salazar
October 12, 2021
Two girls on the beach front.

I look around me and smile, really trying to take everything in. My mind can’t work fast enough to process the beauty around me and I feel as if when I blink it’ll all fade away and I’ll wake up back in my bed in Indiana. 

The uneven layers of rocks grind under my feet, the white foam of the ocean bubbles around my ankles, the remnants of the coarse white salt stuck on my lashes.

I look to my left and see my friends smiling and dancing in the water, trying to wash the remaining stubborn sand stuck on their legs. I look to my right and see the lit up buildings and hear the music emanating from the clubs behind me. 

I feel as if I am in somebody else’s life as I cannot wrap my head around this being my reality. Truly, I don’t know if it will ever sink in. 

As my first month of living in Spain is coming to an end I’m looking back and realizing that I am the happiest that I have been in a while. My classes are about things that I am actually interested in, my internship values me and wants to hear my thoughts and opinions, and the city of Barcelona is beyond beautiful. Even mundane things like eating lunch have gone through Cinderella’s fairy godmother as I eat sitting on my apartment balcony looking over the city. 

“It looks like you're in a 90s sitcom” my friends tease me as I show them my view. 

Never in a million years would I think the little girl from East Chicago would end up living in another country whilst traveling around Europe. 

When I was in high school, groups of students would travel to a plethora of different islands during spring break. I would listen to them talk about how they were going to the Cancun or the Canary Islands and I never understood how that was the norm for them. It seemed so otherworldly to me that I wasn’t even jealous. 

Fast forward a couple of years and now one week I’m jumping off cliffs in Mallorca and the next I’m eating muscles and drinking wine off of the coast of Costa Brava’s beaches. I’m dining on rooftops looking off at La Sagrada Familia and walking in the middle of the street while fireworks fill my vision for los Fiestas de Mercé. 

While it might not seem possible it is so important to never stop dreaming because life is filled with more possibilities than you even realize. 

When I first started college I felt trapped and didn’t think I would ever be able to escape Northwest, Indiana. Yet, regardless of all the obstacles, three years later and now I’m living in a fairy tale, trying to soak up every minute of it. 

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Natalia Salazar

<p>Hi! My name is Natalia Salazar and I am a senior at Purdue University Northwest, double majoring in English and Spanish and minoring in Global Studies. I plan on getting my Masters in Journalism after my undergrad as I would like to pursue international journalism. When I was 15 years old I was given the amazing opportunity of being able to study abroad in Oviedo, Spain for six weeks. This trip absolutely changed my life and gave me a completely different view of what my life could be. Since then I have traveled to Costa Rica and am so excited to return back to Spain. I am beyond excited to be able to share my experience with you!</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
Purdue University-Calumet
Hammond, IN
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