On Being Home
I’ve been back in New York for almost three months, and I still think about Spain everyday. I knew that it would take me a while to get acclimated and find a new normal, and I’m glad I have a whole three months to do so. This summer I moved into New Paltz, took an online class, and started working at a rock climbing gym. I’ve also gotten to do a lot of the things that I love doing like going for hikes and practicing yoga. It’s comforting knowing that although a lot of things have changed, in a way some things have remained the same.
My level of Spanish improved greatly while I was aboard thanks to living with a host family, having all my classes in Spanish, and having local friends. When I got back, I knew that I wanted to continue practicing and not lose all that I had learned; however, it’s obviously very hard to maintain the same level of immersion, so I had to try extra hard to surround myself with Spanish music, movies, and books.
There’s nothing I love more than meeting someone who also travelled or studied abroad and sharing our experiences and comparing our opinions. I met someone at the gym that also studied abroad in Andalusia and it’s been great talking about how similar and different our trips were, and I also get the chance to practice my Spanish with him!
Talking to other people with similar experiences has been great because it was hard for me to talk to my friends about my time abroad because so much happened. Honestly, I found it a little difficult to try and sum up my time without just saying “it was so great, I had the time of my life!” My friend’s lives continued on normally, they experienced everything together, their lives weren’t put on hold for months. It’s difficult for me because now eight months have passed, and everything is completely different. I knew that I wasn’t going to come back and that everything was going to be exactly the same, but I also didn’t expect to come back to almost a different life.
Even though the I’ve lost touch with a few friends and the dynamic of some relationships have changed, I’m embracing the change because I also know that I am not the same person I was when I left. This whole experience has further solidified and taught me the belief that everything is constantly changing and progressing, and all we really have is this moment. No matter how good or bad something is, the moment will never last, so there’s no use in trying to make something last forever.
I’m really fortunate and happy I had the opportunity to study abroad and sad that it’s over, but it truly has taught me a lot and put a lot of things in perspective. I know for a fact that I’m not done travelling and this desire to explore has motivated me to continue to work hard in school and to save money to make travelling a priority in the future.
I can’t believe how quickly the Fall semester is going to start, and how long ago the beginning of my adventure feels. It’s been just about eight months since I boarded my plane to go an ocean away, and had my life changed for the better. I can’t wait to take more classes in Spanish and to also encourage as many people as I can to also study abroad!