Said no one…ever.
How the travel bug is not a world-wide infectious disease baffles me. However, I must keep my open-mind and accept that not everyone has the same interests and passions. I will say though, that I am where I am today, only because of the adventures I’ve taken in the past. I cannot even begin to imagine where my life would be had I not been intrigued by the idea of studying abroad when the study abroad fair was on my college campus. Luckily, the Australian application was due that same day, otherwise…maybe I wouldn’t have gone later on, in 2009, and met the hubs.
Anyways, how perfect was the idea to study abroad? Experience a new place, new culture, new food, new people, new…EVERYTHING. What better way to learn? I’ll let you in on a secret, experience is much more interesting than a book 😉 The only thing I had to do was convince my family of this amazing idea. Big THANK YOU for their support from the beginning.
San Sebastian, Basque Country (Northern Spain *sorry to anyone I upset calling it either place*) was my first real abroad experience. Well, except for the week exploration adventure in Madrid where I made dear friends and unforgettable memories. Toledo, cathedrals, museums, El Prado, Valley of the Fallen, El Escorial, Royal Palace…and those are just the places off the top of my head. In San Sebastian, I lived with Mertxe, the sweetest 77 year old woman. Immediately submerging me into the culture, as she did not speak 1 word in English. We watched movies, TV, and could eventually have long conversations over lunch and dinner. It was definitely one of the better choices to live with a host family.
Looking back, something I would have changed…and a BIG recommendation for students, or anyone else going to study abroad.
Surround yourself in the language and culture as much as you can.
Being my first time out, I will admit I spent most of the time with Americans. That said, mi espanol es muy malo. My spanish is very bad. However, no regrets!
It was there that the travel bug bit me. I loved hearing different stories and meeting new people. I loved doing things that would be impossible from my own city. I took advantage of my time in Europe, and the incredibly cheap flights and eurail passes between the countries and spent weekends visiting new places, and explored 6 weeks after my course with a backpack. Upon returning home, I finished school and was faced with a very important question: Do I continue studying, start working, or do more exploring? The answer seemed so clear. So, how does a recent graduate with no money explore the world? Easy…find a place that will allow you to work! Australia. Working-Holiday Visa.
The rest, is history. Met my man, fell in love…and since then have explored New Zealand, Thailand, and lived in Brazil. In fact, I am on my way to Brazil right now. I’m excited to spend time with my friends and family, enjoying some World Cup excitement, and really, in my mind, live the dream.
I’ve learned so much along the way, and look forward to continuing to expand my mind….broaden my perspective, and hopefully, with this post, inspire others to do the same.
So, please share some experiences with me!