Three days. I cannot even believe I can say that. Only three short days until I begin my journey halfway across the world from Boston, MA to Barcelona, Spain. As the days fly by, I am in awe at how fast the summer has gone and at how quickly the thing I have been looking forward to since February approaches.
This afternoon, as I prepared to share my separation letter with my parents, I found myself full of emotions – excitement, anxiousness, but mostly nervousness, because I truly did not know how they were going to react when they heard what I had to tell them. My mom and I are extremely close, she is my best friend, so I was especially nervous to read my letter to her because I did not want her to see the independence that I want while I am abroad as an insult to her. I began to read my letter to my parents by sharing with them the following quote that I found online earlier today, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” by Neale Donald Walsch, I found this quote perfect for so many reasons. One, because I felt I was already stepping out of my comfort zone by reading my parents this letter, risking upsetting them. But, I knew this was necessary because in order to truly have the study abroad experience that I want, I need to separate from my parents so that I can be independent while in Spain. Two, because while in Spain I want to take every opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, one of the things I find the hardest to do. The more I step out of my comfort zone, the more I feel I will be able to embrace every new experience that arises and the more I will be able to immerse myself in the amazing Spanish culture that I have been reading about. I can say that I am so glad that I shared my separation letter with my parents. At the end of my reading the letter, both my parents were teary-eyed but they could not stop saying how proud they were of me, which is turn made me cry. They told me that they want me to be independent and were so understanding about my wants and needs for my abroad journey. It was through their support that I finally felt completely ready for my journey abroad. I do not believe that there is anything specific that I feel may hold me back from separating in a healthy way because with my parents as my guardian angels I feel strong and ready to take on the world.
To me, there are many things that will make for a successful education abroad experience. The most important thing for me is, as I mentioned earlier, to step out of my comfort zone. I want to eat things I’ve never eaten, go to places I’ve never dreamed of going, try things I never thought I would, and set out to meet as many people as I can. I tend to stay in my comfort zone so this will be an interesting experience for me but I am determined to do it. Also, I want to gain independence on this trip. I want to be able to figure out how to navigate the world on my own and be a world-traveler without the help of my parents. I also want to learn the Spanish language as well as I can and become as immersed in the Spanish culture as I can. An unsuccessful education abroad experience to me would be to stay in my comfort zone, to not get the true Spanish experience by staying in my bubble of only American friends and other API students, and to not feel as though I gained independence through my trip. To measure my success I will see how much I know about Spanish culture after my trip and how confident I feel about myself after because the more I step out of my comfort zone the more confident I hope to feel.
As I look ahead, I feel as prepared as I possibly could feel to face both the expected and the unexpected challenges that I am sure to face. I feel as though I have spent my last week of packing opening my mind up to the many challenges that could come my way, such as the possibility of my luggage getting lost, of my suitcase being overweight, or of moving in with two girls that I do not know who could be completely opposite of me. Either way, I have my mind made up that I will be able to face all of these challenges with flying colors. The attitude that I plan to have through any challenge that I believe will always help me is, “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle” – Christian D. Larson.
The picture that I chose that best reflects my journey so far is a picture of my luggage. This picture reflects my journey so far because my emotions were extremely high while I was
packing, there was so much excitement, yet so much frustration while packing. Fitting only 50 pounds into one suitcase for four months initially seemed nearly impossible, but today when I finally accomplished my goal, I was so happy and even proud of myself. A lot of thought also went into this process to plan what was needed for a new location for summer, fall, and winter seasons. This luggage also shows all the action I have taken to prepare for my study abroad experience. From packing to all the little details that go with me inside this luggage, like my passport and study abroad visa. Coming to the end of this travel log, I even now feel more prepared for my trip as well. Barcelona- see you in three days! Adios for now amigos.