Lauren Sharabianlou is a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an ISA Featured Blogger. Lauren is about to depart to study abroad with ISA in Salamanca, Spain.
As I prepare to embark on my 2 month journey to Salamanca, Spain, I’m realizing the most difficult part of packing has not been deciding what to bring, but what NOT to bring. I guess you could call me an over-packer. I have been adding and adding shirt after shirt after dress after heels, and I have no room for anything else! I anticipate buying things when I settle into Salamanca to better immerse myself and not stand out as a foreigner. But I can’t seem to part with any of my stuff! So what I decided to do was take out anything I wasn’t crazy about. This removed about 3 dresses, two shirts and a pair of heels from my bag. That’s progress right?
I am also getting very nervous about my Spanish speaking skills. I have been to Spain a couple times before and I have noticed that Spaniards speak very quickly! Though I have taken many years of Spanish and have been abroad before, I am nervous about being able to articulate myself in a way that locals can understand. It’s been a while since I have been been in an environment where I can’t rely on English and I am forced to speak Spanish. I just hope that I haven’t forgotten too much and that when I am immersed in Salamanca it will come running back to me.
Leaving home for 2 months will be hard, but I am so excited to do so. I have been preparing for this trip for months by filling out papers, buying flights, and researching where I want to go while I’m abroad. I couldn’t be happier now that it’s actually time for me to depart. I’m definitely going to miss my family, friends, my boyfriend, and my dogs, but there are so many new experiences ahead of me that are about to change the way I think and see things. I’m going to get to know a completely new culture, and adapt myself to the traditions of that culture. It’s definitely going to be a bit of a culture shock, but its experiences like this that shape who we are and the way we relate with others. I can’t wait to broaden my way of thinking with all these new experiences to come!
I definitely know what you mean! I’m trying to figure out what things to take with me for a year in Russia – how exactly do you pack for four seasons?! Don’t worry about the speed of language! Your ears will be tuned in to it in no time!