Before traveling abroad, it is important to set goals for what you want to accomplish in-country. One of my goals, as well as the reason why I want to study in Latin America, is to learn Spanish. Personally, I always set high goals for myself, because I believe even if I fall short of the grand goal I wanted to achieve, I will land pretty far along on the path in eventually achieving the goal. In Peru, my grand goal was to be fluent in Spanish. I recognize this is an absolutely ridiculous goal to have, but I believe that I am moving pretty far along on my journey.
The typical study abroad student posts beautiful pictures on Instagram of the beach. On their snapchat story they include the geo-tag of the cool location they are visiting that weekend. Friends comment “live your best life”, hyping up each and every picture vicariously living through their experience.This all contributes to the perception that studying abroad is a semester long vacation. As much as I wish I could write about life changing trips to the beach sipping margaritas on a Tuesday afternoon, I can’t. Continue reading
My decision to study abroad was mainly influenced by my desire to learn a language. The reason that I have only studied abroad in Latin American/Spanish speaking countries is because I believe in order to have a truly authentic experience one must know the language or have an idea of the language, but that is a topic for another blog post. My strong feelings about language learning pushed me to have a learning experience outside the classroom. I felt in the US learning a language was such a sterile process. Continue reading
While abroad, I have stayed in contact with a few of my friend back at home. Coincidentally, one of my two friends I have kept up with is studying abroad this summer in Europe. When messaging in our group chat I jokingly asked my other friend, “When are you going to study abroad?” This joke quickly turned into a small debate we always have. She wonders why I would want to leave Michigan and accumulate debt, when I could simply stay at home in order to work to save up money to pay for college. I think the easiest way to justify my choice is to explain the importance of experiential learning. Continue reading
The number one problem I foresaw when studying abroad was making new friends. I am very selective when it comes to choosing friends. Friendship is one of the most important things in this life. Choosing to talk to or hang out with someone solely because you like who they are as a person is pretty profound and should not be taken lightly. Also, friends say a lot about you are as well. Therefore, I find myself being selective about the friends I make. When in a situation where I am meeting new people for the first time I simply just sit and observe in order to gauge the personalities’ of others. I realized this slightly judgmental approach would not fly when I left the country. There would only be a small number of individuals who are part of my program and an even smaller group of individuals in my classes. Therefore, I made it one of my goals to get off of my social high horse and be open to making a diverse group of friends. I was quickly reminded of this goal when I arrived in San Jose. Continue reading
More often than not I find myself overestimating my abilities. This may have come to my detriment when filling out the housing questionnaire for my study abroad trip. On the questionnaire I emphasized my desire to be in a household that I was able to practice Spanish. In my mind I was going to be able to speak fluent Spanish by the end of the month long program. I mean I know how to conjugate -ar, -ir, and -er verbs, what more could you ask for? Another piece of evidence I used to justify my unobtainable goal, was then fact that while in Cuba I was able to order food on my own and asked for directions in Spanish. Of course, I failed to remember the strange looks on native speakers faces when I uttered grammatically incorrect phrases. I simply remembered the fact that I spoke Spanish, and I received an answer in Spanish, which I partially understood. Continue reading
Hello everyone! This week I’ll be switching things up from soccer and instead talking about some of the major highlights of my first month living in Madrid. It already feels as if I have been here for a lifetime. I have made so many new friends, seen so many beautiful places, and grown more and more as a person every day. Reflecting on this past month, I have done so much that it would take me days to tell you all, but there are a few moments that I would really love to share with you all. I’ve started my classes, taught a class on how to speak English, saw Picasso’s “Guernica” and had my twenty-first birthday! Continue reading
That’s it. In what seemed like five weeks rather than five months, my semester in Spain has come to an end. Early Friday morning, I embarked on my 28-hour journey back to Honolulu. Returning home was certainly bittersweet, as I’m always thrilled indulge in my favorite Hawaiian foods and reunite with my family and friends. However, something just didn’t feel right. Although I was technically heading home, I also felt like I was leaving home behind. Seeing the skyline of Madrid one last time as my plane took off was heart-wrenching, as I really don’t know when or if I will ever return to Spain. When you live in another city for an extended period of time, it becomes a part of you. Being abroad has taught me that I can call a city other than Honolulu home, despite the major differences between the two cultures. Continue reading
Spring in Sevilla, Spain is undoubtedly a sensational experience. The city was literally blooming – with vibrant flowers growing alongside pastel-colored buildings and the carefree attitude of its people. The Andalucía region of Spain has a completely different lifestyle than Madrid. Andalucía is best known for its rich Spanish culture, most especially bullfighting, flamenco, art, and raw passion. It has a more laid-back atmosphere that still partakes in siestas and has a nightlife that typically lasts until dawn.