I have been talking about studying abroad my whole life; it is something I have always dreamed of. It seems like yesterday I was six years old listening to the stories of my mom studying abroad in London, England. This past decade I listened to the stories of my older cousins going abroad and loving it. Time passed, and it was finally my turn, and I felt nothing but enthusiasm and eagerness.
After two of my cousins studied abroad in Spain, I knew that is where I was going. After (very) extensive research I chose API Sevilla. The process could not have been more accommodating, and as I was filling everything out, it felt like a fantasy. When this past fall semester ended, I realized that in a few short weeks my dream would be coming true. I spent the beginning of January getting everything ready, and before I knew it, it was the day: travel day. I have been to Europe before and have flown many times, but I had never flown to Europe by myself. Another thing that was unfamiliar to me was where I was flying out of: Newark. I was born and raised in Boston, and always fly out of Boston Logan. This time I was flying out of Newark, New Jersey after spending time with family in the area. I know Boston Logan like the back of my hand, so pulling up to Newark Airport a wave of nerves filled my body. As we parked the car and started the walk in I could not help but feel anxious. After a hard goodbye filled with tears, I looked ahead and started my journey. Of course I was nervous, but I told myself, “Vic, you got this.” As I boarded the plane, I just started to imagine all of the things to come.
After a quick 6 hour flight I arrived in Lisbon, Portugal! I had to wait in customs for what seemed like forever, and I had one thing on my mind: coffee. After a (large) iced coffee, I sat in the Lisbon airport and realized that this was all real. I then boarded my plane to Madrid, where we were having orientation, and fell asleep right as I sat down. I was woken up by a flight attendant saying, “we are here, please put your seat up.” I looked out and saw Spain; my home for the next 3.5 months. As I got to the airport I had to change terminals, which believe it or not is a little hard when running on little sleep!
I finally managed and looked for the “API” sign. There, I met one of the program directors and a few other students studying abroad in Sevilla. I finally met people! I have been talking to people via Facebook for months, but it was nice to finally put faces to the names. As we drove to the hotel, the nerves came back; and I could not escape. Once I got to the hotel and met my roommate, we instantly bonded, and I knew from that point forward I knew everything was going to work out.
After a long and informative orientation, API treated us to dinner, and I could not have been more excited not just to try Spanish food, but to have my first real meal in what seemed like forever. At dinner I realized that many people here were in the same nervous boat as myself, and realized that we are all feeling the same. There is no way to escape the nerves while studying abroad, you can only accept it. From that point forward, I vowed to myself to make the most of my experience, and to document it, so I can always look back at it.
I cannot wait to see what this semester will bring, and cannot wait for you all to experience it with me. Until next time…