Madrid, Spain

And Just Like That, Madrid is 2 Days Away

Packed and hopefully ready*

All ready and packed for Madrid!

Well this is it. After months of intense preparation, which mostly consisted of extreme over-panicking, excessive worrying, severe over-exaggeration, and unnecessary concern, I am finally packed, and, contrary to my initial beliefs, I am still in one piece. This first blog post of many is definitely long overdue, but I can assure whoever is reading this that I am gaining massive amounts of excitement for my upcoming study abroad experience by the second. As cliche as it may sound, it truly feels like just yesterday that I decided to commit to studying abroad at Universidad Pontificia Commilas in Madrid. From that point on, every stage of the process rapidly flew by, and as soon as I would realize how quickly one stage went by, I was already midway through completing the next stage. Yet overall, submitting my application documents, figuring out every single aspect of my study abroad experience, and more, ended up being much easier to accomplish than expected. My weeks of overthinking and overestimating are all behind me, and are now replaced by nothing but pure excitement, wonder, and enthusiasm for my upcoming experience.

As many would assume, the preparation and process of getting ready to leave home just days before you leave is not easy. As each day passes, I have been experiencing a surmounting level of emotions. I gladly admit that I will deeply miss my parents and the comfort and support they show me every day. Yet they have been even more supportive of me and my study abroad experience, and for that I am very grateful. Besides that, I have also developed the typical “going away feelings” of missing my awesome little sister Alyana, my friends, my comfortable home, my two amazing dogs Mylee and Dino, the familiarity of my neighborhood, and SUNY New Paltz and everything the school and town has to offer. Yet the main thing that has been pressing my mind the most is something that I didn’t think of much at all when initially thinking of what would affect me the most if I left home to study abroad. This is the very strong and intense feeling of curiosity and wonder. I have never stepped foot in Europe, and I literally have no idea what to expect. I am sure that not even the massive amount of research I have done on Europe and Spain will provide me with a proper and full depiction of what my experience will be like. I have nothing but questions for what to expect when I arrive, questions for the months I will be there, questions on where to go, how to spend, who to meet, how to pass my courses, what to do when I come back and so much more. Yet today, as I am finally able to relax in relief that I am done with all of my packing and preparations, I have come to my first significant revelation of my study abroad experience, which has two parts to it:

1)Things are ultimately not as difficult or complicated as I make them out to be.

2) This will be the experience of a lifetime, that will teach me so many things and that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Therefore, I will stop asking so many questions, and instead focus on creating my journey of a lifetime, one day at a time.

I hope that whoever is reading this can look forward to the many posts I have to come. I’m so excited to share with you all of the places I visit, the things I learn, the people I meet, and the memories I make. My hopes are that from now until the very last post I put up, I will encourage at least someone to take the leap of faith, overcome your fears and negative assumptions, and STUDY ABROAD! If you enjoy reading my blog, please, tell a friend to follow too.

Hasta Luego,

Aaron Marrero

Aaron, a Political Science major and International Relations Minor, has wanted to experience a Study Abroad opportunity in Europe, with hopes of also enhancing his Spanish-speaking skills. He is thrilled to take political and international courses in Madrid, Spain this upcoming semester!

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