An inside look on my thoughts and fears before going abroad
By Sara Utsugi
Studying abroad is probably one of the biggest challenges and opportunities I’ve had. I know that I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to move to Spain for four months while studying in school and simultaneously travelling around Europe, but I can’t refrain from acknowledging that it is scary to leave home and move across the world. Of course nerves are normal, but I’m definitely a scaredy cat when it comes to trying new things. Unlike some of my fearless friends who went into study abroad unphased and only excited, I had my reserves about it all, and I think that’s fair. No one’s perfect, and I was actually terrified when the time finally came for me to leave the US. I’m going to treat these study abroad blog posts as somewhat of an informative journal. You’ll get an inside look at my thoughts, but I’ll also write about what I’m learning through this experience and of course, Sevilla! Enjoy.
January 11, 2018
I’m getting ready to leave for Spain in a few weeks, and I’m still unsure how to feel. Excited? Nervous? Terrified? All of the above? See, a little over a month ago, I found out that I’d be going to Spain rather than France (long story), a city I’ve longed to visit since middle school. When I realized my plans had fell through, I again didn’t know how to feel. I was frustrated at first, but then I started to think that maybe there’s something, someone, some place in Sevilla, that God wants me to experience. There has to be a reason I’m willingly packing up and moving across the world for four months. Or a reason that as it gets closer to leaving, I feel more and more at peace.
January 23, 2018-Saying Goodbye
I’m sitting on the plane in Miami getting ready to leave for Madrid, and I feel panicked. Suddenly, I’m surrounded by Spanish. The people look different. I don’t recognize anyone. Even the outlets on the plane aren’t the same. I have this overwhelming sense that I should’ve prepared better for this. I should’ve done my research on Spain and tried to learn some of the language before leaving. It feels like a scramble of emotions, but unlike the peace I felt when landing in Miami, I now feel uneasy and anxious. With every step that gets closer to us leaving, I get more and more anxious--like I want to jump out of the plane. I’ve never felt like this before. I’m jumpy, nervous and uneasy. This flight feels like my final “see you later,” being that it’s taking me out of the US and into my unknown. I’m anxious about the unknown. Flying within the US was nothing new to me, but international travel on my own is new territory. Seven more hours of flying then I’m in Spain. Two more hours after that, and I’m in Seville being picked up and taken to my new home for the next four months. I know I’ll be fine. I have so many people both in California and Hawaii praying for me. Papa is watching over me, and that in itself has a way of giving me peace. We’re on our way now. We haven’t left the US yet, but we’re almost at the runway. I’m feeling more peaceful and less anxious. I have to remember that just because something is unknown doesn’t mean it’s scary. And even when I do get scared, I have amazing support and love constantly being sent my way. I am at peace. I am ready. Sevilla, please welcome me in with loving arms.
Stay tuned for more study abroad updates. I've now been in Sevilla for three days, and it's absolutely gorgeous. The nerves I was feeling on the plane were every emotion and anxious thought I had suppressed all spilling out at once. I'm fine now; not to worry. I moved into my apartment with my house mom living right next door. She cooks, cleans and does laundry for us. I've got to explore the city a bit, and I'm slowly but surely falling in love. The weather is nice; nothing too extreme. Homesickness is definitely setting in a bit, but I'm sure as I get more familiar with my surroundings it'll wear off. I'm ready for a great semester in this beautiful new city. My heart is open. Let it begin.