This week I found myself struggling to write a blog post. It was not that I did not have anything to write about. I just did not have a topic that I felt I could write a lot about. I kept coming up with ideas but none of them seemed to get very far. Then it dawned on me that I was experiencing writer’s block. How could I have writer’s block? I have been here for less than a month and have only written two posts. I felt that I had so much to write about, but could not seem to get the right words on to paper. My deadline for turning this post in arrived and I decided I was just going to email my supervisor and explain my struggles. I asked for some suggestions as well. The response came back telling me not to worry and gave some topic suggestions. The one that jumped out at me was about goals. Goal setting for my time in Spain. This was perfect! I had previously just made mental goals but did not write any of them down. I took this as an opportunity to write down some of my goals and hold myself accountable to them. This breakthrough was what I was waiting for. I finally had something to write!
Studying aboard is an experience like no other. I not only get to see the country and culture that I am in but become a part of it. The depth at which a person wants to learn about the other culture is determined by what they choose to do. For me I wanted to become as fully immersed as possible. So I chose to live with a host family and I set goals for myself to achieve throughout the semester.
Living with a host family was my first choice that enables me to be fully immersed in Spain. It also was a step to help me achieve my goal of becoming proficient in the Spanish language. It has been a wonderful experience so far! The family that I live with speaks little to no English so I am practicing my Spanish every day. They are very helpful in correcting me when I say something incorrectly and explain to me how to correctly say the phrase or word. Being around Spanish speakers daily I found that I have an easier time picking up different words or phrases. I also have discovered that it is easier for me to understand what someone it saying than it is to respond back and speak. I am still struggling with the speaking (and understanding) however I know that I will get better with practice. I also try to listen to the way other people speak when I am on the metro or just out around Barcelona. I have been able to pick up some things but others I cannot because I realize they are speaking Catalan.
Another one of my goals while studying in Barcelona is to do some sort of solo travel. I have traveled by myself plenty of times before, but it is always been to meet someone at the place I was visiting. While in Spain I want to use this opportunity to a place explore it on my own. I think that this is an important goal for me because I want to see what it is like to travel on my own. I also have to opportunity to explore a city in Spain that I have never been to before. It also will give me a chance to learn a little more about myself. My study abroad experience so far has taught me about resiliency and the wonders of cultural immersion. I want to see myself grow from these experiences, which is why solo travel is one of my goals this semester.
I hope that I can look back on this at the end of the semester and see if I achieved these goals. These goals are ones that I feel are achievable and not completely out of my reach. Here’s to next week and not having writer’s block for at least a couple more blogs!
Also another goal is for me to set foot in Morocco! I hope that I get there too!
Noemi Cerritos Gatto