The first few days of being abroad are a little intimidating, because you’re basically thrown head-first into a new city, country and school, which can feel a little insane. The first day I got to Madrid I was dead tired, disoriented, and a little freaked out. Within the first few hours of getting here I had to figure out how to use the metro, which if I’d thought about doing back in my home town, would have seemed scary or semi-impossible. I was wondering what I’d gotten myself into, and how I was going to navigate by far the biggest city I’ve ever lived in while fighting against a language barrier. But being abroad for a couple of weeks has taught me that when you’re forced to do something, you figure out a way to do it, and then it doesn’t seem like a big deal at all.
It’s kind of amazing, because the first few weeks are an insane blur of activity where you make new friends at an accelerated rate. Everyone is in the same boat, trying to navigate a new environment and make friends. But in between making new friends, recovering from jet lag, and exploring your new city you find amazing spontaneous things to do, like go to a Real Madrid game!
One of our first nights, some friends and I decided spur of the moment to walk to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium half an hour before a game and ended up in one of the coolest experiences of our lives–watching Real Madrid win at home!! It was a great night.
I’ve come to realize that those little decisions are really important in the first few weeks abroad. It’s taking those little opportunities to seize the day that constantly reminds you of how amazing it is that you’re right here right NOW. These spur of the moment experiences make being abroad especially exciting. Sometimes my friends and I turn to each other and say “Oh my gosh! We’re in Madrid, halfway around the world, and we’re doing this [insert amazing activity here]!” And when we say this, we feel like the luckiest people in the world.