The Right Decision
I’m an indecisive person. But one thing I had decided clearly in my mind when I started college was that I was going to study abroad. I didn’t know where or when, but I was going to make it happen one way or another.
I’m also somewhat of a perfectionist, so choosing a study abroad program was quite a long process, but I started early and researched thoroughly. I attended my school’s study abroad meetings, requested information online, made phone calls, talked to my professors, and weighed out all, I mean, all my options. The night before my junior year started, I finally applied to CEA’s Granada program. I decided I wanted to go to Spain to experience a unique European culture and to improve my Spanish in a smaller, more student-friendly city. It was a leap of faith, an action that said, “I am committed to doing this.”
I had few worries and reservations about going abroad. I already go to school 10 hours from home, so I’m used to being away from family, and I’ve studied Spanish since high school, so I knew I wouldn’t be totally lost with the language. Yet I did worry about understanding native speakers and also about making friends. But one thing I’ve learned since coming here is that you have to put your fears aside and put yourself out there. That’s the only way to improve with the language, meet people and make friends, and truly enjoy the experience for all it’s worth.
Still, the biggest obstacle I encountered when I arrived was a reality check about my language abilities. I realized how much I still don’t know, but also how much there is to learn and improve. It’s a little disorienting at first, but very humbling. What has helped me most with this is being honest when I don’t understand and asking for help when I don’t know a word, need help finding a phrase, or try to correct a grammar mistake.
While making friends and getting used to being surrounded by a foreign language have definitely been an adjustment, I have felt so comfortable here in Granada right from the start. I love listening to the Spanish people and learning about their customs, beliefs, culture, and rich history. I never want to affirm the American stereotype and think of myself as better, smarter, or more educated just by virtue of where I was born. I’m here to learn about the Spanish people and language and embrace their way of life as unique and beautiful.
Yes, I’m still indecisive. There are at least 10 other countries I want to visit during this semester and 10 different cafés I want to try on any given day, but there´s no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice in choosing to come to Granada.
Anastasia K. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying English at Liberty University.