I apologize for the delay of this entry. Not only have I been nonstop working and seeing friends since my return, but I am also having a very hard time admitting that my study abroad experience is over, caput, terminated, done-zo. However, when I think of it from a different perspective, I realize that my study abroad experience isn´t over, and will never be completely over. I know my interactions and adventures in La Coruña will continue to change me for a lifetime. So here goes my last blog entry (gasp), its a bit incoherent but its just a wee bit hard to sum up 9 months in a few paragraphs!!
If you look at my very first post, before I left for Spain, you can pretty much tell that I was beyond freaked out and honestly didn´t know if I would even survive the year. Thankfully, after the close of the my study abroad experince, I can now confidently say that none of those fears actually occurred. My passport never left my trusty purse, my Spanish improved dramatically and I passed all my classes! I will be honest and say that it wasn´t easy. There were definitely points of doubt, frustration and loneliness. However with amazing and unconditional love and support from family and friends as well as a great sense of self, I overcame those dark moments and learned to immerse myself in the Spanish culture, and fully enjoy my year. So for those studying abroad in the future; it ain´t easy, but it will be one of the most amazing experiences in your life.
Before my year abroad, I heard countless words of advice from, ¨don´t walk down that sketchy alley¨ to ¨try the sangria!¨ All of which were important, but one stood out from the rest, and I tried to follow it throughout the year. Last August, when I was extremely nervous for my year in Spain, I received an email from a past Crusader Coruñesa with an advice I want to share with you. ¨ Don´t compare your experience to anyone else´s. What may work for them may not work for you. Make your year abroad your own experience. If you don´t you will regret it.¨ The opportunity to live and study in a different country only really comes once a in a lifetime, so use it well!
You can learn a lot about cultures, languages, political systems and different ways of life from sitting in a lecture hall or a college seminar. However I can guarantee you won´t actually fully understand or feel immersed in another society until you study, live and immerse yourself in that culture. So I challenge you, if you even have a spark of excitement or a glimpse of a possible life off this continent, I dare you to just go. I promise you, you won´t regret it.
As I was leaving Coruña to come home two weeks ago, my host mom drove me to the airport at the wee hour of 5 AM. We sat in the café and had a large cup of coffee and my favorite Spanish pastry. As my flight was called to board I began to tear up, but was soon calmed by her reaction. She told me that I could always come back to visit and that I will always have a home and family in A Coruña. As I fought back tears, I instantly promised her that I would visit in the hopefully near future.
Finally, a huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read my blog this past year. I hope that the entries have been at least somewhat interesting and entertaining! Assuming there is someone reading… 🙂