I’ve already spent nearly three months preparing to study abroad this upcoming summer, and there’s still so much to do!
November of 2016, I made the decision to declare a Spanish minor so that I could learn more about the language and culture. I knew that this choice would benefit my future goals in numerous ways, even though, academically, it would be a challenge. As a biochemistry major, my curriculum is strict. I have to take a certain number of classes within the College of Science and Technology each semester in order to graduate within four years. So as I entered my junior year, my course schedule from now until graduation has already been planned out. Nonetheless, I still chose to declare my minor, and I decided that if I had to take summer classes, why not just take them abroad?
Fast forwarding to early January of 2017, I was completing the finishing touches on my application to Temple in Oviedo. I made sure to get my essays reviewed by my peers, and to my excitement, by the end of the month, I had received acceptance to the program. Now I could really begin the process of preparing to study abroad. However, one of the primary obstacles I needed to overcome so that I could reach my goal was financial.
In order to pay for this education abroad program, I need assistance from scholarship programs. So far, I have applied to three programs through Temple University, the Gilman Scholarship Program, and Fund for Education Abroad. Each of these scholarships required me to write essays, which is not one of my strengths. But with the help of tutors in the writing center, I have written and submitted them. Hopefully, I am awarded at least one so that I can actually participate in this program. Fingers crossed!
Whilst I wait to hear back from them, I have prepared myself for Spain in other ways. I am setting up an appointment with my primary care physician within the next month so that I can make sure I am healthy enough to travel. I have never had a surgery or been in a medical emergency before, so I doubt that is a concern at all. I am also getting my passport soon. The only problem there is that is costs about $140, and to college students, like myself, that is a lot!
With less than three and a half months to my departure, the countdown has begun. Everything, including these scholarships and pre-departure materials, need to fall into place. I am very optimistic in this journey, so wish me luck!
Till next time,
(a photo of Spain from outside our hotel in Chamartin, a town in northern Madrid)