With exactly one week until I’m off to Spain, I am becoming nostalgic of my everyday life here in Georgia. I am trying to spend as much time with family and friends as possible while enjoying the little things that I often overlook. I realize that everything will be different when I return to the states in 10 months.

For me, traveling is all about opening your mind to change while welcoming in new ideas, new cultures, and new understandings. So I say, bring on the change! I am so excited to learn new things about the world and myself while abroad for the academic year.

While this is not my first time traveling or studying abroad, this time feels very different because I will not be with a study abroad program, but on a new, more independent journey as an exchange student. I will be taking classes among local Spanish students and other exchange students from around the world. I decided to do an exchange year to push myself out of my comfort zone, grow as a global citizen, and perfect my Spanish, so I chose to register for some content courses taught completely in Spanish. As a non native speaker, the thought of sitting in a politics or economics class in Spanish among Spanish students gives me a little anxiety, but I am ready for the challenge.

Besides challenging myself in classes and getting to know new people from around the world, I am also looking forward to exploring the diversity around my exchange destination, Pamplona, Spain. Most people in the region speak Spanish, however some also speak the Basque language, which is interesting since it is not related to any other language. Also, due to its close proximity to the French border, I hope to learn a bit of French as well.

Now within days of beginning this adventure, I am making my final preparations for the trip. It has been a long road to finally get to this point, but now I am ready to go and enjoy this experience of a lifetime!

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