Home Sweet Home
It’s hard to believe but I have already been back from my study abroad in Spain for about a week. Last Saturday I took a nine-hour flight from Madrid to Chicago and now I am back home in Madison, Wis. About a week ago I was sitting in my classroom at the University of Valladolid at school taking my final exams and finishing up my Spanish major. It’s crazy to think about how this whole semester, all these crazy adventures and all this amazing knowledge that I have gained, has suddenly come to a close. When I left it was a snowy winter in Wisconsin and now it‘s a hot summer; and just as the season has changed, my life has also transformed into something completely different and new.
My last days in Spain were very bittersweet and it feels almost like a big hazy memory. I had all of my exams and I think they all went well, I should know my final grades at the end of this month. I am very interested to see how my credits and grades transfer from Spain to Stevens Point. Then, on the second to last day I was in Spain, we had a graduation ceremony for all the students that would be leaving. It was very exciting and I would guess about 75 students, from a wide range of countries, graduated from the university. They called us up one by one to receive our diplomas and we all cheered for each other. Many host parents, including my host mom, came to watch the ceremony. I was proud of myself and everyone else who there as well. Eight years ago I started studying Spanish and now I am completely done with my Spanish major. I know that many of the students have probably had a similar journey, and one just as difficult. Everyone should be proud of himself or herself for completing this grueling task but amazing journey.
Although I am no longer required to take anymore Spanish classes before graduation from UW-Stevens Point, I still plan on take some just to stay fluent and not lose any of my skills. This fall I will be primarily taking classes for my accounting major but this next spring I will for sure be taking another Spanish class. This experience abroad has also made me think about other foreign languages as well and I am considering taking French and Arabic in the near future as well at UWSP. This summer I will be taking a non-credit French class at the UW-Madison student union and I hope that will inspire me to continue it next spring at UW-Stevens Point.
Adjusting has been difficult but I’m working through it. It’s definitely challenging because I’ve been through something that not a lot of people have been through or relate to. I know studying abroad seems like something a lot of people can understand but going through it is a lot different than just thinking about it. It’s hard to explain to other people and right now I don’t see anyone that I spent my time with in Spain. I feel very alone and just sort of awkward a lot of the time. As time passes I’m sure it will be better. It’s been easier when I’m staying busy and with people that I can talk to. I think also this fall it will be a lot easier because I will be back at school at UWSP and I will be able to see my friends that I went to Spain with.
I have been invited by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Professional Studies to continue blogging for this summer and fall. This summer I will be in the Madison area working on a house remodel and working at a coffee shop. Of course I will also be preparing for this fall at school. Like I said, I and taking that non-credit French class, but I am also taking a online summer course through UWSP. I plan on writing several posts this summer and once fall comes around I will have more regular posts again.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading about my experiences with study abroad, and I hope that maybe I inspired at least one person to go on a study abroad, or at least do something big that is important to them. If anyone has any questions about Spain, study abroad, or anything that you think I could help with please feel free to shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I lived up one of my dreams and I want to help anyone in anyway I can live through theirs.
Alexia Szabo, a junior majoring in accounting, Spanish and international studies at UW-Stevens Point, is blogging about her study abroad experience in Spain.