Studying abroad has always been a goal of mine for my collegiate career; I knew since grade school that I wanted to study somewhere for at least a semester to become more culturally aware of a population different from my own in Philadelphia. Choosing a college meant choosing a study abroad program that could benefit me personally, culturally, and academically. Now that I am preparing for a semester abroad in Spain, I have become more aware of the opportunity I have been given and what it entails.
Though my emotions and feelings about leaving for five months vary daily (sometimes hourly!), I am super excited to be immersed in the Spanish culture and surrounded by the foreign language I have been learning since high school. To prepare myself for the semester, I have been listening to Spanish music everywhere—whether I’m exercising, walking to class, or finishing homework, I try to pay attention to the ways in which the lyrics are put together that may be new compared to what I have learned and point out grammar or vocabulary I already know. In addition to music, I have been watching the news in Spanish with the captions on in Spanish as well, so I can read along and listen at the same time. This has certainly helped my Spanish in the short amount of time I have been doing this, and I hope that it prepares me in a new ways that a classroom couldn’t for the semester.
Of all the emotions and feelings I have had since my acceptance in September, the most prominent feeling I have felt is apprehension. As stated earlier, I am extremely excited to be spending such a long time in hopes of increasing my Spanish vocabulary and grammar skills, but it has not come without nerves. Everything that I am excited to experience, I am also nervous to experience; from my host family to daily life in Spain, I am nervous about all of it. At the Spain pre-departure orientation held Friday, November 14th, the advice given to us was to get out into the life of Spaniards and to go out of our comfort zone. I know it will be difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone, probably due to nerves, but I also know that is the only way I will truly embrace my time abroad and learn new things about the ways in which the Spanish locals live.
From making packing lists (and even beginning to pack after the pre-departure orientation) to making plans with my hometown friends before I depart, I am beyond excited to spend the spring semester in Oviedo, with a new family from which I hope to learn a lot and experience things I would never experience if I were in Philadelphia for the remainder of my time at Temple. Despite the nerves, I feel truly blessed to have been given this opportunity through Education Abroad at Temple; I know many of my experiences in the spring will be due to them and the assistance (both financially and mentally) of my parents.