The build up to my study abroad experience in Oviedo, Spain has been quite the roller coaster ride. After my acceptance in February, I felt intense excitement at the prospect of studying abroad, but the worry surrounding my financial situation loomed in the background. Shortly after my acceptance, I learned that I had earned scholarships that would fully fund my experience, and I felt on top of the world. Then, like clockwork, another update email entered my inbox. I learned in mid-march that the feasibility of our trip was in question; we’d have to wait for an update on April 15th. Once April 15th rolled around we were informed that the final decision would instead be announced in May. I started to feel more anxiety rather than confidence in the idea of studying in Oviedo.
As one could expect, I felt a mix of anxious, nervous and excited emotions as this roller coaster traveled up and down. This is normal and something that students face regularly when trying to navigate their pre-departure experiences. To cope with my own nerves, I did three things consistently: distracted myself, talked with friends, and planned. By incorporating these things into my daily life I was able to decrease my stress levels, feel less alone in my experience and become more confident and prepared when things were changed or delayed.
I’m glad I kept my cool, because it seems the roller coaster ride is going back up; Temple is officially moving forward with the program!
Having dreamed of studying in a Spanish-speaking country since my orientation in 2018, my passion for language and cultural exchange has only grown. It’s crazy to think that I am actually doing what I’ve dreamed about for so many years. Now that my wondering about whether or not our program would run is done, I have promptly begun to wonder about what my experience abroad is going to be like. After this past year, I am much more accustomed to uncertainty. Still, with only one week between me and a flight out of JFK, the uncertainty is giving me a rush of nerves that I am struggling to contain.
So, as I gear up to our departure on June 27th, I’m using one of the strategies I mentioned above to cope with my nerves: planning. I’ve made lists, booked flights, and because I haven’t had a chance to speak Spanish regularly since the semester ended, I’ve made a plan to watch shows in Spanish, listen to Spanish podcasts and brush up on some more specific “Spain Spanish” colloquial expressions.
Although the waiting and wondering of this past semester was stressful, I wouldn’t have it any other way. At each twist and turn I thought of ways to decrease my stress either by chatting with friends, staying busy, or keeping an optimistic outlook on the situation. I have a lot to look forward to in Oviedo this summer, and in the meantime, each time I pass by a person on the subway speaking Spanish or hear Spanish in the shows I’m watching, I’ll get the rush of excitement like a roller coaster dropping down to my final destination: five weeks abroad in a beautiful country, learning and living with the people of Oviedo.
Thank you for reading; I’m excited to keep sharing my experiences with you all. Stay tuned for my next post from Spain– nos vemos pronto!