By Julia S. | July 31, 2012
I’m back in the states! In fact, I’m watching my pre-recorded Olympic coverage of the women’s gymnastics team finals right now on my couch, and it’s bliss.
I’ve been thinking about what this day would feel like for a while now, and it’s not quite what I expected. Amidst classes, research, and well, being outside the U.S. for longer than I ever had before, I didn’t think I’d miss Spain all that much. But, it’s not quite as such. About 2 weeks before today, I remember sitting with two of my friends at a gorgeous spot in Toledo overlooking the city that is all but empty late at night. We were sitting there alone, eating ice cream, and practicing our Spanish and just… being in the moment. It was then that I realized for the first time that, no—I will miss Spain. I’m still unbelievably ready to start my second year at OSU and return to my more traditional Ohio State life, but I guess there is a reason people encourage studying abroad so much.
I’m not going to bore you with all of the classic, overarching reasons that you should study abroad during your time at Ohio State (or any other institution), but I want to share some things about studying abroad I hadn’t thought I would get to enjoy:
*New music. By the end of the program, there were at least 5-10 songs everyone here knew, from soccer games, going to the discotecas, or on the radio during lunch—compare it to going to the U.S. during this past summer and learning, without even trying, all the lyrics to “Call Me Maybe.” Like many college kids, I am on a constant quest for new music, and I was pretty pleased with what I found here. If you’re in to music in foreign languages, you should check out these songs:
Rayos de Sol by Jose De Rico & Henry Mendez
Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Michel Telo (this song is actually in Portuguese)
No Hay 2 Sin 3 (Gol) [feat. David Bisbal] by Cali & El Dandee
Danza Kuduro by Don Omar & Lucenzo
*Confidence in a foreign language. Of course, one of the most obvious reasons for me going to Spain was to become more proficient/fluent/whatever you want to call it in Spanish. And sure, my Spanish has improved a lot. But something I did not see coming was building up a confidence to use Spanish. Growing up in Houston, I’ve had countless opportunities to use Spanish while out and about—but I never really felt sure enough to use it with native speakers. What if they didn’t understand me? What if I couldn’t maintain the conversation after one or two exchanges? Not to say that I didn’t make mistakes on a regular basis in Spain or that I don’t have to ask for clarification anymore, but I don’t think I’ll ever be afraid to use Spanish ever again.
*Random cultural experiences I didn’t expect. Learning the culture is a given when you go abroad. But there’s a lot more to that than what I’d planned on. Sure, I learned a bit about their international perspectives, their eating habits, their fashion, their government, their history. But being here during their economic crisis or when they won the Euro Cup? Or falling in love with the Aquarius sports drink, the official beverage of the Barcelona 1992 Olympics? You just can’t see those kinds of things coming.
Rude Awakening: Soooo, I’m moving back on campus in two and a half weeks. Wait, what? I can’t say that I’m that upset about such a short summer since I’m ready to get back, but I will be relieved when the semester transition is finally complete.
Pleasant Surprise: Despite my worries about not being able to watch the Olympics while in Europe, I’ve been able to get some decent coverage! Regardless though, there’s nothing like being in my home country and watching it with my family.
In firm friendship,
Julia Rose S.
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