Studying Abroad as a First Time Traveler
Before a few weeks ago, I could not have said that I’ve seen much beyond the east coast of the United States. I can count the number of times I’ve been on a plane on less than one hand and these had always been with family members, never on my own. I had no luggage and no idea how to book a flight.
To say the least, when I decided to pursue this study abroad semester: I was clueless.
For the first time solo flying to also be the first time traveling internationally was intimidating and I wasn’t sure if I was capable. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be in another country. I owe it to CEA as well as the kindness of strangers along the way for the good fortunate I have had in my travels thus far and for that I am very grateful.
CEA first and foremost provided me with a program that suited my academic and financial needs. Most importantly, they were there for all of my questions throughout the entire process. From applying for a visa to choosing classes to transferring financial aid, they made even the least experienced traveler successful.
I expected to step off the plane into a whole new world, but I honestly do not feel overwhelmed with the transition. People still drive on the right side of the road and love bread and gelato as much as the next. There has no doubt been a learning curve between the language and culture, but despite it all, I’ve realized that ‘foreign’ is not always synonymous with ‘strange.’
When I struggled to communicate with security in Madrid, a bystander jumped in to translate. A very patient woman who worked at the phone store sat with me and wrote things down to help me understand until I finally walked away with a SIM card. Kindness is indeed a universal language.
CEA has continued to be helpful with neighborhood tours and recommendations of local tapas bars, cafes, and cheap activities in Seville. For the first time in a new city, these suggestions have been incredibly helpful in getting my bearings and managing my new surroundings.
I can’t wait to see what other challenges and experiences lay ahead of me these coming months as I explore Seville, Spain, and the world.
Nicole F. is the Fall 2017 MOJO Blogger in Seville, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Mass Communication & Spanish at Towson University.