Well my friends, it’s that time of year again. With the excitement of summer on the horizon, everyone is eager to turn in those last homework assignments, finish their finals, and bid their goodbyes to another school year before taking a much-needed break. At this point, a lot of study abroad students begin to flock back to the Duhawk nest as well. Just like all of you, the semester is over for us too: our classes have ended, we’ve packed our suitcases, and have said “see you later” to the countries we’ve grown to know and love over the past few months. However, there’s one Duhawk that’s still flying across European skies, and that Duhawk is me.
If you haven’t already heard, I’ve decided to stay in Spain until mid-July. I know: shocker, right? While other students have arrived back in the states and are eating copious amounts of the food they’ve missed (think: tacos, well-built burgers and American breakfast food), I’m chowing down on tortilla Española. They’re reuniting with their friends and their beloved pets while I’m still over 4,000 miles away from my best friend and puppy. They’re returning to the comfort of their own home country, while I’m prolonging that return trip. A lot of people have asked me: Why did you decide to cancel your plane ticket? Why not just go back to Spain later on in your life? To those questions, my only response is: Why wait?
Study abroad had taught me many lessons. I’ve talked a little bit about taking advantage of every moment, also known as “aprovechar”, in a few of my columns. This has been one of the two biggest lessons I’ve learned. However, the other and just as equally important lesson is this: do the things that scare you, even it may change part of your future. For me, making the decision to spend part of my summer here was a decision that was personally difficult, and scary, to make. Originally, I thought I knew I wanted to spend my summer back in the United States. Staying in Spain means another two and a half months of living in a different country, speaking a different language, and living in an apartment rather than with a host family. It means another two and a half months away from my family, friends, boyfriend, and familiarity. My main priority, instead of taking classes, will be working with my internship and living more of a regular, daily Spanish lifestyle. On top of this, a lot of the friends in my program have already left to go back home for the summer. I have to admit, with all of this in mind, I’m nervous. But I’m also so, so ready for it. It’s a chance for me to grow, and a big decision that I’ve made completely on my own. As much as it makes me nervous, it makes me empowered.
If you take one piece of advice from any of this article, here it is: don’t be afraid to do the things that scare you. Whether that’s accepting a new job, choosing to go on a service trip, study abroad, or whatever it may be, doing things that scare you help you grow. They help you to know yourself better, to become more independent, and to realize your full potential. You’ll never realize how capable you are a week, a month, or a year down the road if you don’t begin with day one. So, what are you waiting for? Do the things that scare you. You may never know when that opportunity will cross your path again.
Until July 17, Duhawks, you can find me continuing to settle in Santiago. Hasta luego, buena suerte en sus exámenes finales, y feliz verano desde España.