Introducing Amanda

Greetings and Salutations to all! In just a few weeks, I will be departing for a semester abroad in Alcalá, Spain! HOORAH EXCITEMENT! I am looking forward to all of the incredible opportunities that lie ahead. While my excitement for the upcoming semester is basically indescribable, I can also feel my nerves growing as the departure date gets closer and closer. The whole speaking-a-different-language-flying-on-a-plane-by-myself-not-knowing-anyone-in-a-different-country thing is a little frightening. But the whole being-out-of-Wisconsin-during-winter thing makes it all better! (Snow and I aren’t exactly best friends…)

When I tell people that I am going abroad next semester, they all say one of three things:

1. “Noooo, don’t gooo!”

2. “Oh, you are going to have so much fun!”

3. “Spain, huh? How’s your Spanish?”

And me, being the awkward person that I am, usually respond with one of three things:

1. “Uh, well thanks, but I’m for sure going. I booked a flight and wrote a check.”

2. “I KNOW!”

3. “Well, it’s alright.”

As you can see, I am still trying to figure out the appropriate response. What else can you say besides “I AM SO EXCITED!”?

Going abroad for an entire semester is probably the craziest thing I have ever done. Literally. I have never left the United States. I mean, I went to Canada once, but that was before you even needed a passport to go there, so in my book, it doesn’t really count. The idea of being on a different continent for an entire semester is so crazy that I am having trouble processing the reality of it. In fact, the timeline of it all is extremely difficult for me to comprehend. I’m spending a good portion of my free time now trying to make plans for next summer. It’s weird to think that when I start doing whatever I decide to do next summer, it will be when I have just returned from five months in Spain. My mind thinks that next summer is before next semester. Time is flying by; I just can’t believe everything is happening so quickly!

I recently chatted with one of my closest friends who is currently studying abroad in Santiago, Chile. I wasn’t sure what to write about for this blog post, so she suggested that I make a list of things that I want to learn or goals that I have while abroad. I thought about it for a long time and really sat on that question: Why are you going to Spain? What do you want to get out of this experience? First (and probably obviously), I want to be able to speak Spanish like a boss upon my return. I am decent now, but being in Spain will give me the opportunity to practice 24/7 and I want to learn as much as possible. Second, I want to build new relationships with other students, my host family, and anyone else I meet during the next five months. One of my personal philosophies has always been “it’s not where you are or what you are doing, but who you are with that makes the difference”. This case is a little bit different (it is SPAIN, after all!), but the statement is still applicable. The chance to meet and form relationships with new people is such a blessing and I hope to maintain these relationships even after I am back in the United States. I have many more goals, aspirations, and dreams for the upcoming semester, but for now, my third and final one will be: I would really like to try as many new things as possible. Food, music, classes, traveling, I want to do and learn everything! After all, YOSAISO! (It’s like YOLO except better… You Only Study Abroad In Spain Once!) I really want to make the most of this opportunity!

¡Así que, adiós, hasta luego, y buenas noches por ahora! 42 DAYS!