Coming home from study abroad is a total mix of emotions. I felt as though I was leaving from one home to return to another, conflicted about which I would miss more. Departing from an experience that is so formative (and fun!) can be challenging and sometimes upsetting, but seeing how that experience leads to even more makes it at least a bit more bearable.
On my flight out of Granada I had a great conversation with the couple next to me in Spanish. While I loved that for a moment they thought I was granaína, my favorite part of our small talk was that I realized the scope of what I had gained abroad.
There I was sitting on an airplane, talking in Spanish about the beautiful places I’d seen, the even more beautiful people that I’d met and telling them also about the beauty that was waiting for me at home. With a fresh perspective I could talk about my semester with them on a deep and meaningful level, even if this husband and wife from Puerto Rico and Asturias were people I would only know for the length of a plane ride.
I’m excited for these little victories outside of Granada—the ones that remind me of the four months that gave me the skills to achieve them. Breaking the ice in Spanish, traveling solo, spending more alone time, trying new things, relaxing a bit, connecting with nature and then reflecting on what all of that means to me. All of these things and more seem natural now, though they weren’t so intuitive at the beginning of these four months.
I am so, so sad to have left Granada, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll return one day, but I already see a difference in my point of view here at home. It’s cheesy to say, but my hometown seems prettier than ever before, a few moments spent with my grandparents feel like a long-anticipated adventure, driving again feels absolutely liberating, and hearing Spanish on the street is more than comforting. There are things I loved in Granada that I never noticed existed at home and things at home that I hadn’t realized I missed so much in Granada.
Coming back may seem more bitter than sweet, but the things I learned and loved abroad didn’t stay behind in my host country. One of my favorite quotes, and one I think is appropriate to help bring my blog posts to a close, is by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
So on that note, I’m carrying the beauty from Granada and all of my experiences abroad in more than just a carry-on, and bringing them along on whatever adventure is next.
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<p>Hi, I'm Nina! A proud Jersey girl and sophomore at Penn State, I have a passion for all things food, music, culture and crafting. Join me as I test my Spanish skills while living out my Andalusian adventure this semester!</p>