Take a leap back outside of the everyday consciousness of your mind and truly accept how little time we have on earth, as well as the minimal amount of time of the entire existence of earth. Your uninterrupted life is a mere spectacle of a grain of sand in the grand scheme. I say all this to lay aside your doubts of not knowing whether you should go abroad or not. I chose my location with very little background research. I found in doing this that your highs become extremely high and your lows become extremely low.
Attending a school in a foreign country is unquestionably difficult and confusing at times. You will get lost and you will most definitely feel lonely at times. Going alone without any idea who would be waiting on the other side was exhilarating. Luckily, unknowingly my new best friend was waiting for me.
I studied Spanish in San Sebastián, Spain. San Sebastián is a very small city in the northern area of Spain known as the Basque country. English is not a second language. The citizens of Donostia speak Basque and Spanish, and as a foreigner with very little knowledge of either this was challenging. Beginning school with the intention of learning and shortening my language barrier. I failed to realize that interacting and surviving prior to engaging this skill would be problematic.
When studying abroad or even visiting a different country other than your own you encounter many different situations. As this essay is a word of advice, be prepared to spend a different amount than you are financially prepared for. You will want to travel to other locations, probably more than you expect, and you should. As alluded to in my quote, I have seen more in the past 6 months than a majority of people will ever see in their entire lifetime. You will learn deep and inspiring things about yourself that you would have never learned otherwise.
I feel as though when going to a less “Americanized” study abroad city in Europe you are embraced with a little bit more love. You will be around a much closer group of people and friends. Every single one of my friends studying in Florence or Barcelona said that most of the people they studied/hung out with were Americans. You lose the major aspect of immersion. You have to lose yourself in the experience and in the music literally.
You will encounter a major culture shock no matter where you choose but especially in a smaller city. Enjoy this and realize that it is short lived and you will be completely used to it in no time. San Sebastián is one of the most beautiful and underrated cities in the world whether it be the incredible food, bars, beaches, or mountains. Finding this program was completely a dream come true. Read what I said again, your uninterrupted life is a mere spectacle of a grain of sand in the grand scheme.
Take a leap back outside of the everyday consciousness of your mind and truly accept how little time we have on earth, as well as the minimal amount of time of the entire existence of earth. Go live and go learn abroad. Turn the page into your next chapter.
Finn Jackson (BA Humanities: Liberal Arts) spent Spring 2022 studying abroad in San Sebastian, Spain through USAC. Finn had the following to say about studying abroad, “Take a look at your life currently, where have you been, who have you met, what have you seen? You have not seen anything. Go live.”
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