Choosing Excitement as I Get Ready for Spain!

Sanny Yang
August 27, 2021

Summer is quickly coming to an end as I anticipate being on a plane to Barcelona in less than a week. While going through the application process and even at the beginning of the summer, studying abroad for the Fall semester seemed like a distant future. Plus, with COVID-19 continuously disrupting plans in the last year, I’ve been subconsciously coming up with the what ifs. What if my study abroad program gets canceled? What if my school reverts its decision to let students go abroad? What if I get there and the Delta variant gets worse? With all the what ifs constantly lingering in my mind, it’s been difficult to get excited about what lays ahead.

I try to remind myself of a couple things when I get too into my head. One, students were able to study abroad during the summer. Two, other IES Abroad programs have already begun. Three, my program has completed both predeparture orientations. Four, I got my housing assignment. And five, I have received multiple emails preparing me to get on that plane next week. None of these are indications of COVID-19 getting in the way of my study abroad experience. Instead, all of these encourage me to choose excitement as the D-day gets closer and closer.

With only about half a week remaining in between myself and Spain, I am replacing my negative what ifs with the things I’m most excited for. The new classmates I will meet. My new housemates I will get to know. All the DiscoverIES I’ve signed up for. A class called Food as an Expression of Culture that I’m looking forward to taking (because I love food, obviously). And helloooooo, living in Barcelona, of course!! I’m looking beyond the uncertainties and choosing excitement instead.

Nevertheless, excitement alone does not get one ready to embark on a journey like this. Attending a boarding high school in another country and studying in the United States as an international student, I have done quite a bit of traveling growing up. No matter how many times I’ve moved from one place to another, attempting to pack my life up in two suitcases doesn’t get much easier. It’s overwhelming every single time and I end up packing my bags at the last minute. I think a big reason why I always do this is because packing my bags make it feel so much more real. To be honest, it still hasn’t quite hit me that I am going to spend the first half of my senior year in Spain. Procrastinating on my packing will keep my anxious feelings at bay while I dream about paellas and siestas.

Apart from being a big procrastinator, I am also an expert at overpacking. As an over-packer, I am packing for every possible scenario in which I may need something. The sky is the limit. Wait…I mean the maximum luggage weight limit. Anyhow, I do know that the hardest part of packing is getting started. So…maybe it’s time for me to start pulling out my suitcases from storage. We’ll see if I follow through with that today, but I might be too distracted with all my excitement ;)

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Sanny Yang

<p>Hi, my name is Sanny Yang. I am a senior at Hope College (Holland, MI) studying Political Science and Global Studies. I was born in South Korea but mostly grew up in Lilongwe, Malawi. I am excited to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain and to share this journey with you!</p>

Home university:
Hope College
Hometown:
Lilongwe, Malawi
Major:
Global Studies
Political Science
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