When first arriving in Barcelona, even very easy things seemed challenging. The language barrier made asking simple questions very daunting. The unfamiliar city seemed impossible to navigate. Doing things alone was scarier than usual, and there did not seem to be enough time to do everything I wanted to do! Luckily, small victories overtime built up my confidence and have made everything seem much easier.
Doing things alone was intimidating to me at first. I always feel most comfortable when around friends and since I came to Barcelona with one of my best friends and have gotten close with my roommates, it was easy to stick with the group. I also did not want to feel lost or unsafe when being by myself. Overtime, however, I became much more comfortable with my surroundings and now exploring the city by myself is one of my favorite activities. When living in small quarters and traveling in groups, being alone becomes a rare concept. You also get to see exactly what you want without compromising your plans. Some of my best adventures around the city have been by myself. Just this week, I explored the incredible sites of Montjuic by myself after a field study. One of my biggest little victories has been becoming more comfortable exploring on my own.
Another small victory I am still conquering is finding time to exercise and stay healthy abroad. With all the exciting things to do and great foods to eat, its difficult to make time to exercise and focus on health. Recently, however, I have been trying harder to put time aside to exercise and pick healthier options. Luckily, Barcelona has some of the most beautiful places to go for a run, like along the beach or in the large parks.
Probably my biggest victory while being abroad has been finding new ways to get myself out of my comfort zone. This may sound vague, but there really are countless ways to keep pushing yourself and try new things. While they may be intimidating, I have found that they are always worth it. Whether its going to a CEA AICAP where I only speak in Spanish to other local students (my Spanish is improving but far from perfect), or deciding to volunteer, or getting off at a new metro stop to explore, I am always delighted to see what I can discover by doing something just a little uncomfortable. Going abroad is a big decision in the first place, but choosing to keep trying new things while you are there can be more difficult than expected. I am proud of all my little victories that have come from continuously pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and I plan to keep doing it!
Julia D. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Communications & Film at University of Michigan