The last time I left the country, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior had just aired on the Disney Channel. For those of you who may not be well-versed on your DCOM history, that came out in June 2006! I just finished second grade.
What’s been keeping me from leaving The US? Maybe it was a lack of opportunity, but then again, maybe I didn’t seek any opportunity because – I’ll admit – I’ve been terrified of traveling. Coming to Temple, I told myself, “John, you’re gonna be petrified just going to college, you think you’re gonna go to college and then leave the country?” At orientation when studying abroad was brought up, I told myself, “nope, not for me.” So, how did I end up with a plane ticket to Madrid, preparing to study abroad in Oviedo, Spain this summer?
Well, some fateful events overlapped perfectly during the spring of my freshman year to create the ultimate epiphany: not only did I really want to go abroad, but I could. Talking with an honors advisor, I expressed my disappointment at not continuing learning Spanish due to my packed class schedule. Then I first heard of Oviedo, as she explained that I could add a Spanish minor by studying abroad during the summer. Next, a guest speaker for the American Marketing Association around that time told us, “this is one of the only times in your life you’ll have the chance to study and live in another country.” Huh, a good way of putting it. But there was still the worry of money, and my parents would certainly be concerned about the cost. However, they blew me away with overwhelming support. Luckily, my dad pointed out, I had a merit stipend to use, and Temple offered additional help if necessary. Flash forward a few months, I got accepted to study in Oviedo!
The next steps have been a whirlwind.
Since getting my passport earlier this year, I’ve been trying to get as much info as I can about where I’m headed. I emailed my Spanish teacher from high school, a priest from Spain, funnily enough. I searched the web relentlessly. I even “Google Earth-ed” the different places I’d be visiting. Through my research I found out we’ll be in Madrid during the very first parts of their pride festival. Maybe we’ll be able to see how Pride looks halfway across the globe!
Next, my friend Amanda and I bought plane tickets together, after some frantic searching on sites like Student Universe, Expedia, and the like. (Tip: do some comparing; there are savings everywhere.) It was an exercise in adulting. Also, though we quite literally clicked “purchase ticket” at the same time, hers went through, but mine didn’t. That was the most frantic minute of my life, but we got our plane ride together–thankfully!
Now I’m trying to polish my Spanish, prepare myself for meeting my host family, and ascertain what exactly I’ll need for when I finally leave the country again at the end of June. I had no clue that Europe uses different outlets than The States; I still need to get a converter! I’ve got a some more work to do.
I’m a little nervous of course, but totally excited! Stay tuned–the next time I update will be from Spain! I can’t wait to share my experience with you all!