It has become a familiar feeling, waking up each morning with a countdown in mind. Time has flown by and before I know it I will be boarding a plane to Madrid, where I will spend the next ten months of my life. Instead of the more common semester experience abroad, I have elected to spend an entire academic year in Spain.
After having been fortunate enough to spend a summer in Spain during high school, I made a promise to myself that I would return, in order to spend more time in a country that holds such a special place in my heart. While searching for the perfect study abroad program, I came across the Madrid Academic Year program offered at Indiana University. The program offered transferable credits, accepted my financial aid and scholarships, and most importantly offered the opportunity for me to spend an academic year studying at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid Spain. The Madrid Academic Year program also fulfilled requirements for both my International Studies and Spanish majors; it was obvious that this program was the perfect choice.
Initially the idea that I was returning to Spain brought nothing but happy thoughts to my mind. However, as time has passed I have come to realize the many tribulations that come along with studying abroad. The preparation process has been long, tedious, and difficult. I have not only had to renew my passport, but also apply for a student visa. I have also spent countless hours researching how to handle my finances, spent my free time canceling things such as my car insurance and cellphone contract, and have even faced the impossible feat of packing my life into a suitcase. While the pre-departure experience has easily been one of the most stressful times of my life, I know the rewards of spending time abroad will be well worth it.
As my departure date approaches, my emotions change each day. I cannot help but to think about all the people I will miss and difficulties I will face packing up my entire life and moving to a foreign land. I also cannot help but feel nostalgic about my life in the United States and ponder how much I will miss my school, friends, and family. While saying goodbye will be one of the hardest things I have ever done, the adventures that lie ahead consume my thoughts. Daydreams of Spanish landscapes, flamenco dancing, tapas, and late nights strolling through the romantic streets of Madrid are forever present in my mind. Before I know it, those dreams will become reality and Spain will become my home for the next year of my life.