Study abroad races to an end with a lesson, known by all but, inexperienced by many.
“You have to get out of your comfort zone.”
In January when I took off from Indiana to Spain, I was nervous. “What is it going to be like over there? Is my host family going to like me? Am I going to like them? What will it be like in the unfamiliar?” These are pretty standard questions for someone who is about to be away from home for four months in a new country. Before you leave you hear from your mom, your sisters, your aunt, your grandpa, your co-workers you barely know, your advisors and anyone else that knows you are about study abroad “this experience is going to be life changing.”
They’re right. They are also right when they say “studying abroad can push you outside your comfort zone and changes your life.”
My short four month adventure shaped me. I created a home here in Seville. This was possible because I was willing to get out of my comfort zone and try to experience all the new Seville offers. Sevillanas have a saying that can change the entirety of someone’s experience abroad. “Vale, venga, vamos,” it means “okay, come on, let’s go.” These tree simple words transform you and push you to see what is out there.
For me, there is a bakery with the best cookies, 6 minutes from my house, a quarter of the way to CIEE center where I study. For me, there are narrow streets with the non existent sidewalks that take me to the froyo store, with less sugar and more hot fudge, paths only walked by the locals. There is a man with a book store who talks about the history and culture of Spain while I sip a coffee with milk in a glass, not a mug. He goes on and on, sometimes speaking too fast for my English ears to understand but, I feel the passion there. There is new and sometimes weird food, that will never live up to the cheeseburger but, is so good I don’t know how I will go home and live without. There are three cultures of religions blended together to build the cities’ structures. There are students from far away states that have become some of my greatest friends.
So many of these experiences and these meetings would never have happened if I were not willing to say “vale, venga, vamos,” to push myself out of my comfortable Indiana roots.
Spain has a unique culture, within that Seville one of the biggest cities in the Andalusian region takes that unique culture and goes even further to distinguish itself. Saying “vale, venga, vamos,” was the best decision of my life so far.