Hey everyone! It’s been a short while since I last posted but I’ve been slipping slowly under the iron sea that is HOMEWORK. It’s been a very busy past couple of weeks but once my Thursday classes are over, a wonderful four-day-weekend awaits (the perks of being ahead in your degree!) In the midst of all the uju7ujhyyhj get difficult, I find it a lot less stressful than the questions that plagued my mind leading up to this semester abroad:
Is it intimidating? Is it right for me? Is it worth it? Is it possible? How do I apply? Will I fall behind in my degree? What if my friends forget about me?
But there is hope and relief on the other side–for me that other side is Madrid and that will be my focus in this post.
- Decisions, decisions, decisions. The fact that, as a SUNY New Paltz student, I can choose from any SUNY program anywhere in the world blew my mind. Pursue your wanderlust and go where you feel led to. Madrid was the perfect choice for me because even though I had never set foot in Europe, I have the advantage of speaking both English and Spanish. Located in the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula, it’s easy and affordable to travel anywhere in the country and to other parts of Europe. It’s also the capital city, the perfect place for a journalism-public relations major like myself to keep up with the most current events (UC3M is one of the Top 50 Under 50 universities in the world, talk about prestige).
- Lifetime investments. This is probably about as carefree as you will be able to travel on your own, so make the most of it! I could be the poster-girl for the poor cheap broke college student and even though I didn’t come here with rolls of cash to blow, financial aid and help from friends and family definitely went a long way. Almost every adult that I spoke to on campus, in my neighborhood, and at my summer internship jumped on the opportunity to tell me how much they wished they took time in college to study abroad and the few who actually did were super open to sharing their tips. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Madrid on its own has so much to offer historically, visually, educationally and more; Madrid’s world-renown golden triangle of art, the 5th-Avenue-esque Gran Via, amazing cuisine, and too much more to mention in such a short post.
- Life goes on. Sure, things might change while you’re away, but you’ll be meeting people from all corners of the world–and that is invaluable. I went out to dinner with some friends this week and four of them said that in their four months here, they had yet to actually befriend Spaniards. What. 😯 It just doesn’t make sense to me. One thing I’m extremely thankful about living in a residence hall is the amount of Spanish friends I’ve been able to make–a couple of whom I would return to see in a heartbeat. On top of these wonderful mates are the people I’ve met from around the world, further expanding my social network. Don’t be scared to face the unknown, there’s so much to take in.
The rest of the questions that I mentioned at the beginning can be answered by our resourceful Center for International Programs (at one point, I visited my advisor one or two times for tips and advice.)
If you didn’t immediately think of the pirate from Spongebob Squarepants, you might be a bit too old or mature for the reference. Last week, my roommate and I went for a Saturday walk around Sol and as usual, the street performers were in abundance. They typically hassle you for money if you take a photo of or with them, but I’m a bit sneaky.