My Study Abroad Experience!
I announced that I was going on study abroad a bit before my trip, but I never went into detail.
For my advertising major (I have 2 and my second one is fine arts), I decided to participate in my university’s Communication + Media program to take the capstone class. That’s my last class. I thought I should end my advertising major and begin my advertising career with a bang 💥 I also wanted to interact with new people and gain unique experiences, like the dorm life I never got (I’m a commuter 🚗 ).
I officially decided that I wanted to go last summer and saved up a lottttttt ever since.
The study abroad program was 3 weeks in Spain, with 3 days in Madrid and the remainder in Seville. I stayed an extra 5 days to go to Paris, France. A weekend during my program featured an excursion to Morocco.
HOW I PREPARED
My priority was saving money. Scholarships were offered, but they’re not guaranteed to whomever applies. I saved up about 75% myself and my parents supplied the rest (thank you 🖤).
My flights (Miami to Madrid, Seville to Orly and Orly to Miami) were $800 in total. The trip was a little over $3,000 for my tuition and everything in Spain but lunch and dinner. I brought a grand to spend. My Morocco trip was about $200. My France trip was about a grand. My overall trip was about $6,000. It may seem hefty, but I was traveling for a month, took a class, visited 3 countries and had a once in a lifetime experience with amazing people 💛
I signed up for this trip without knowing anyone. I was excited nonetheless because I sought a unique experience. I’ll be honest; I judged everybody pretty hard lmao. I had to because I was going to be living with these people for approximately a month.
It turned out that the people I was least worried about were the ones I should’ve judged harder and been wayyy more careful with 🙃
Gradually, everyone got along and we seemed to be all meshing well together for the trip. Once in Spain, everyone’s true colors came out and things got better and worse 🌈
Dealing with new people can be frightening, but everyone turned out to be delightful for the most part.
CULTURE SHOCK LOL
The next biggest experience was the culture. Spaniards are very laid back. They have siestas and don’t feel the sense of urgency ingrained into every American. I said “lol” because even the laziest members of the trip were frustrated with Spain’s level of chill.
Conversely, this chillness even applies to laws. You can’t expect the standards from the U.S. Customer service, habits and even hygiene is very different. I’ll elaborate this per country in separate, detailed blog posts.
Another huge culture shock was the food. It was hard to get rice anywhere 😫😫😫 I’m Hispanic; I need water, shelter, oxygen and rice to survive. Wait till you hear about this in the Spain blog post lmao.
I left study abroad feeling energetic. I bonded with many people and I still talk to them today; they know who they are and they might even be reading this post 😌
I feel less anxious about doing things outside of my comfort zone. I’m less afraid to talk to strangers and be myself. I’m eager to experience new cultures and view things beyond my imagination. I’m also empowered to pursue a lifestyle that allows me to travel and do what I love.
I think that everyone who can afford study abroad should do it without second thoughts or any doubts. It’s something that’s life-changing. You’ll be presented with both good and bad experiences that test you and inevitably change you.
Aside from meeting new people and visiting new countries, I got to view my career in an international perspective. That’s unique knowledge I can bring with me into the workforce. An investment like study abroad should be worthwhile not only for your pleasure, but for your career.
If study abroad isn’t possible for you or unavailable for your major and you wanted a coordinated trip, consider saving up for over a year and trying out EF College Breaks. It’s a similar concept to study abroad without the class.
I said at the beginning of the year that 2017 was my year and it definitely has been. I made this dream come true with a $9/hour part-time job. If you can dream it, you can do it ✨
Thanks for reading! 💋