Even as I am on board my flight to Chicago (the first leg of my journey to Spain), I cant quite wrap my head around what I am about to do. Sure, I have spent countless hours thinking about this trip, and probably even more hours trying to get my checked bag to weigh under 50 lbs, but nothing quite prepares you for moving across the world to live with strangers.
I had the pleasure of spending my last week before leaving in Mexico. Although it helped me practice my Spanish and confirmed that I do have a working knowledge of the language, it also reminded me of everything I don’t know. Let me tell you, you can feel very confident about your foreign speaking abilities until you hear a conversation between natives and realize you understand them as well as T-Pain in a rap song. You suddenly regret all those times you blew off your Spanish homework and opted for an online translator instead, not that I ever did that of course.
But that’s the beautiful, and terrifying, but mostly beautiful thing about studying abroad. You don’t have the option in the middle of a conversation to mentally log onto Google translate. You can’t help but learn the language and improve your speaking skills.
My journey starts with four flights (Chicago à New York à Madrid à Sevilla) making trip my longest trip to date. After staying one night with a friend in Chicago, I fly out at 1pm on Sunday and land in Sevilla at 1pm Spanish time (6am central time).
I will be staying in a homestay with a Señora in the region of Triana. I don’t know much about my host besides her name, phone number, and what her street would look like if my life turned into a cartoon. I will have my own room, internet, three meals a day, and weekly laundry. Sounds like a pretty great deal if you ask me.
However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t pre-write a script to use when I first arrive…
I have a weeklong orientation for my program that starts when I arrive tomorrow. Orientation involves getting to know other people in the program, learning about Sevilla, and immersing into Spanish culture as a whole. After orientation, I have a two-week Spanish language intensive class to help me feel more confident about my speaking abilities and easily transition into my academic classes.
I cant help admitting I am nervous. It is an entirely new life with a snap of my fingers Well, more like with 15 hours of traveling. Nevertheless, I am excited beyond words. It is an incredible opportunity and I feel very blessed.
Well….here goes nothing!