My suitcase was under 50 pounds.  My travel documents were in check.  My boarding pass was in hand.  I was ready to take off for Madrid, Spain.  Hello, or should I say hola, my name is Cara, and I am the current MOJO Blogger in Madrid for Spring 2018.   I always knew I wanted to study abroad in college, and once I declared a minor in Spanish, I knew Spain was the obvious choice for where I should spend a semester of my life. Although I’ve only…

Settling into a new country is no easy feat. That much can be acknowledged right off the bat. You’ve come to learn, to travel, and to see everything your country has to offer. Here are three tips to ensure you’re mentally and physically prepped to enjoy every second of your time abroad: Stay Balanced In those initial days (or weeks) after your arrival, you’ll be full of nervous energy. You’ll likely want to immerse yourself in the culture and experience everything you possibly can “like the locals.” This…

A major part of study abroad is the “study” portion.  The reality of my academic life abroad is the classes I am taking are incredibly different than the United States equivalent, and that is exactly what I had in mind before I got here. When I decided to study abroad, I knew I wanted to take classes that would both meet the requirements of my home university and actually interest me.  Now I can confidently say both of those things are checked off the list.  One of the…

If you close your eyes and try to picture a stereotypical Spaniard, what comes to mind? For many, Spanish culture goes hand in hand with the image of a striking dark-haired girl, wearing a floor-length red dress trimmed at the bottom in ruffles, and holding a fan dramatically in one hand while she dances. The image is easy to conjure up, but the history and culture behind this image are much less familiar. The girl is a representation of a flamenco dancer, historically from the Gitano (gypsy) population,…

As I start my walk through the city center, I’m struck again by how happy and alive the Spanish language sounds. All around me, the air buzzes with conversation. It seems all of Granada is out tonight. I can hear people chatting about their day at work, what they’ll do for dinner, or asking after one another’s family. The air is crisp and cold, and with the Christmas season approaching, there are roadside stands selling roasted chestnuts and filling the air with a sweet smokiness that adds to…

What does a “normal” day look like while studying abroad in Granada, Spain? (Is there any such thing as normal in a city this beautiful?) In all the excitement getting ready to study abroad, it’s easy to imagine the big things, but the normal parts of life seem impossible to grasp! In this video, I’ll give you an overview of what my day-to-day looks like here, including everything from my walk to school in the morning, to homework time, coffee dates with friends, and meals with my host…

Before actually living in Granada, my knowledge of the city was strictly bound to what I read in a few articles online or in travel guides. I had the basic history of the city, the major sightseeing points, and of course, a commentary on tapas culture, but in regards to real connections to the city, I had none. Fast-forward a few months, and I’m happy to say that has completely changed. What started out as a study abroad “destination” has quickly become my second home, a city where…

If you asked me to pinpoint my favorite part of study abroad, it would be almost impossible to choose just one thing… but can you really blame me for that? I’ve spent the last four months with an endless supply of fresh olive oil, multi-cultural exposure, and continual Spanish practice; life in general has been pretty great. However, if you really pressed me, I think that I would settle on the friends I’ve made here as the best part of Spain so far. Most people in the US…

study abroad, studying abroad

My planner has been my lifeline this busy semester. As I flick through to months past, my mind dances with memories simply from the names of the countries I have visited written carefully under their corresponding date. All the way in September I see the times to meet for orientation and I can’t help but think back to those days with a haze induced by a faraway time and a touch of jetlag. As I count down the days until I head to the Seville airport for one…

The best and worst part of Europe is that everywhere feels so accessible after growing up in a country where the states are the size of most countries. The “best” part is easy to understand: Closer together = easier traveling, see the world, you get the gist.   The “worst” part is subtler. It doesn’t rear its ugly head until your bank account starts hurting halfway through your time abroad. Suddenly you must prioritize your trips (accept this fact: seeing all of Europe in 1-2 semesters is impossible),…