To the girl afraid to study abroad...
Don't be. Studying abroad is one of the most challenging, unique, and rewarding experiences of my college experience.
Was I afraid to embark on a six-month solo journey across the ocean? Yes. But I knew that in the long run that if I didn't do it, I would regret it. Filling out applications, buying expensive plane tickets, stressing over getting my Visa in time--the entire process was just short of a nightmare.
Yet, studying abroad gave me things I never would've gotten had I not done so.
Better Spanish skills.
Ability to problem solve.
Public transit system understanding in multiple cities.
Appreciation for luxuries I never considered luxuries.
Doing and seeing things I'd only ever heard about in a classroom.
Studying abroad is scary, at first. You'll get homesick and you'll miss American food. You'll miss the parts of your daily routine at home and you'll wish you had more money. You'll have to readjust to a new form of college life and find friends in an entirely new place.
So many people reach the end of their study abroad programs and can't wait to go home, but I was different. I loved so many things about my life in Spain but I had things back home that I missed as well. I found that readjusting to my home culture was harder than adjusting to Spanish culture. Now that I'm back home, studying at my American university and speaking only English on a regular basis, I miss Spain, I miss my European friends and my American friends from other states, I miss Spanish grocery store prices, I miss the Madrid Metro, I miss tinto de verano, I miss traveling to what felt like a whole new world for less than $100 (different countries feel like different worlds sometimes).
And I feel like that's something irreplaceable. Having another thing, another life, another culture, another time zone, another place to miss... especially when that thing is another home.