Tuesday, February 15, 2011

¿Por qué?

People who know me well tended to seem skeptical when they learned I was going to be studying abroad. I'm not a meek person by any means (I've been known to tell people off, speak my opinion, command a room and things of the like), but I'm not brave. At all.

I admit it - a lot of things scare me: the dark, loud noises, being startled, dogs I don't know, airplanes, small spaces, being home alone late at night, not having a plan and unknown situations immediately come to mind, but there are more.

So why would I, the girl who is scared of everything (or so it may seem), want to travel a million miles away from home (clearly an exaggeration...but work with me here!) to study? Isn't that something I could do here? Isn't that something I'm already doing here?

Check and check.

So why?

Or maybe I should practice a little spanish here - ¿Por qué?

I want to study abroad for so many reasons - I want to show that I can be independent. I want to try to perfect my ability to speak Spanish. I want to travel. I want to experience another culture. I want to go to Europe. I want to graduate from college with the ability to say that I did it.

So many people have told me that their biggest regret from college was not studying abroad, and I don't want that to be a regret that I have. People make so many excuses as to why they can't - it's not the right time, it will cost too much, it will interfere with their studies...but I thought about it a lot...and when is the right time to leave the country for two months? When will I have sufficient funds to travel? When would it be convenient for my schooling?

I decided there is never a good time to leave the country - you're always going to miss something, and it simply can't be helped.

I also know that I will never be financially stable (in college at least)...I'm using loans to pay for college, so what's a couple thousand more dollars in the grand scheme of things? I figure if I'm paying for school, I might as well fork over a little more to study in Spain.

As for being convenient with school...this is another situation in which I figure if I end up having to take an extra term, what's the big deal?

This may not be the financially responsible way to look at things...but I figure that it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. After graduating, I'll get a job. Eventually I hope to get married and have a family...so when would be the right time to take off for a few months? When I graduate and am broke and paying back loans? When I have a job and can't take time off? When I get married and am paying for a wedding and a house? When I have kids to think about?

See? There's never a good time to spend a big ol' chunk of money...for me, anyway. And I know that this is going to be a fantastic experience, and it will all be worth it in the end!

♥ Abigail

Monday, February 14, 2011

Things to do...

It's week seven here at Oregon State, which means that there are only a couple weeks left of the term. I leave for Santander in approximately 38 days. I am excited and scared at the same time...but we can leave that to another post, because the main point of this one is to talk about how stressed I am about all the things I have to do before I leave!

There's a lot involved with getting ready to leave the country for 10 weeks...

I have to square everything away - financial aid, advising, declare a major (yes, that should have been done months, if not years, ago), declare a minor...

I have to buy things - new laptop battery, laptop case that is more protective than mine is now, new foundation (we were told make up prices are high in Spain), a Kindle, sensible/cute/weatherproof flats (the difficulty there is that the flats must meet all of those specifications), toiletries, a suitcase, a bigger carry-on bag, a passport/ID holder, power convertors and a money belt, to name a few.

I have to pack - I'm the girl who packed 30 shirts to go to California for 10 days. How on earth am I supposed to pack - lightly, mind you - for two months? I've heard glorious things about the shopping in Santander though, so I suppose if I forget something I can find it there.

I have to pack my room - I'm vacating my room and hopefully filling it with a renter for the term, which means everything must go. Luckily my across-the-bathroom roomie has offered to let me store things in her room, which will make the moving part a little more convenient.

I have to finish out the term - hard enough to do without the thought of Spain looming in the distance.

And of course there are a million other little things I'm forgetting, ranging from seeing a travel nurse, putting together a list of contacts with phone numbers, researching Travelex and Eurorail, getting any necessary immunizations...

So clearly, I have things to do...wish me luck!

♥ abigail

The First Post

Hello friends and family...welcome to Abigail Abroad - a blog in which I hope to share with you the adventures I have while studying abroad in Santander, Spain.

Never heard of it? To be honest, I hadn't either...and I still don't know much of it beyond that it is a lovely coastal city in northern Spain where I will call home for two months while attending Universidad de Cantabria.

I decided to study abroad on a whim - I had always wanted to but was too nervous to embark on such an adventure on my own. A change of events at the end of my sophomore year got me itching to apply, but I held back until this fall, when my dear roommate Sara was applying to the program. She is also a Spanish minor and was taking advantage of study abroad to earn the necessary credits.

We live with three other girls, but our rooms are upstairs and connected with a bathroom, obviously making up pretty close (despite the fact that we barely knew each other). She was accepted and I asked her what I was going to do without her...she responded, "Why don't you come with me?"

I let it sit for a second and then replied, "Why don't I go with you?!"

And my drive to study abroad was renewed, knowing that if I got accepted and decided to go, it wouldn't be alone, but with a friend.

After a frenzied few weeks of filling out applications, writing essays, scrounging up recommendation letters and submitting various information, the process was complete. I had an interview and found out a few days later that I would be spending March 25 through June 3 in Santander.

This weekend we had a seven-hour long orientation, where our group (about 30 students from OSU, UO, SOU, EOU and PSU) learned everything we need to know about our time abroad - school schedule, where we'll be living, how our insurance works, what's expected of us, among a million other details.

This meeting left me excited and anxious to get to Spain and start this adventure.

I hope to use this blog as a way to keep in contact with friends and family while I'm away, but for now I'll be using it as an outlet for my feelings about my trip - everything from nerves to excitement to trouble packing to what I need to get done between now and March 24 when I leave on what is sure to be a grand adventure!