Student: Studying abroad can be tough, but do it

On Sept. 25, I took the biggest step in my life so far. I got onto a plane, and flew eight hours to Malaga, Spain where I’ll stay for the next three months.

I have become one of those people that you hate being friends with on Facebook because you are constantly forced to look at photos of another country with captions like “So Blessed,” and “Malaga2K15.” It still doesn’t feel real. I don’t feel like I am going to be here for the next three months.

To be honest, it feels like I am here for a week vacation, but it is the slowest week of my life.

When I first applied to study abroad, it was on a complete whim. I knew I had to do it for at least a semester in order to major in Spanish, but the choice of which company to go through, or where I wanted to go, or which semester was best for me is all a complete blur now.

I remember I didn’t even know which company I was going through until I had already sent in all of my information and been accepted into the program. I chose Malaga because it is in the south and I thought it would be nice to have an extended summer and hot weather for another two months.


I miss the crisp air of Vermont and the changing leaves. I chose the first semester because my study abroad advisor told me it was the best one.


I am missing Thanksgiving, and I’ll be home the day before Christmas. If I had chosen the second semester, I would be gone for all of the negative degree weather, slush and lame holidays.

In reality, I probably should have put a little more thought into it all, but I didn’t. Now I have been here for two weeks and there really is no going back. It is easy to be away when you don’t feel like you are missing out on things at home.

When I talk to my family, they tell me I’m not missing anything and everything is normal and boring there. What they don’t know is that, that is what I am missing. Everything here goes a million miles a minute and I am constantly learning, or going on excursions, and meeting new people.

I am starting to miss the boring routine that I had a home when I could just relax and not have to think. My brain really hurts now that I think of it. Every time I open my mouth, or need to do something, it’s not just second nature like it is at home. I have to think twice as much to do something so simple, because I have to do it in Spanish. Let me tell you, there is a reason why I always feel like I could sleep, even though my bed is as hard as a rock. My body isn’t tired, but my brain is exhausted.

I know, I’m complaining a lot. I’m in Spain for lord’s sake! Tons of people never will get this opportunity and here I am being so negative about it. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond lucky to be here and I wouldn’t trade this for anything because the chances of me getting to do something like this again are slim.

None of it is easy though, and I’ll be honest when I say that sometimes I wonder if it is all worth it. Working 60 hours a week over the summer, being away for three months, having to take out a loan, being constantly uncomfortable, and feeling like I am stuck; I wonder if I made the wrong choice.

Even though now, it doesn’t seem worth it, but when I come back fluent and more confident than I have ever been, I know it will be. I just have to get through the hard parts, like the epic homesickness. But I know it won’t last forever. Nothing worth having ever comes easy.

As I go through my day-to-day life here, struggles and all, I would still say to go abroad if you asked me. I’m not going to lie though, some of it is going to suck. In fact, a lot of it is going to suck, but more of it will be amazing, unforgettable, and totally worth it.

I told myself that I was doing this because I had to and because I had no other choice. I lied to myself and made a lame excuse. I didn’t have to do this, or anything. I could have chosen to only have a minor in Spanish and then not have to study abroad, or I could come home half way through my trip. I still don’t have to be here. I want to be here, whether I know it or not. Or whether I’ll admit it or not.

If I didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t be.

I don’t know what type of audience this blog will be reaching, but I hope it is students who want the extra information about what it is really like to study abroad, the kind of information that I wish I had before I came here.

In the end every experience is going to be different and there are a lot of factors that can make or break your study abroad experience, but hopefully this will give you a real insight on some of the positives and negatives of a study abroad experience.

Just in case you were wondering, I’m not the type to sugar coat anything. If something is bad, I’ll tell you it’s bad. If it is amazing, I will do the absolute best I can to explain to you just how awesome it is. For the future I really want to focus on specific topics for the next bunch of blog posts. I want to focus on roommates, food, cultural differences, classes, trips, and the list goes on. I would also love to hear from you all as well. Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions about studying abroad, or life in Spain.



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