In 2 days, I’ll be back in the states…I can hardly believe 3 months have gone by already! The interesting thing about being on a 12-week program is that about 3 months seems to be the length of time it takes to really start to become comfortable with your new environment. Over the past 2 weeks, I have found myself way more open to communication, less self-conscious about my Spanish and much more “at home.” :) I have made some amazing friends, seen beautiful places and learned so much, not just academically but also personally. I’ve become better at making friends and understanding/appreciating different viewpoints. I also feel so much more independent!
One of the things I learned about myself is that while my Spanish skills are not always as good as I think, they’re not half-bad either. I used to be terrified of talking to native speakers for fear of “messing up,” but I have learned that messing up is OK (also inevitable!). I still have a long way to go, but the point is simply to try my best, keep practicing and ALWAYS remember to have fun with it!
I have also found a new appreciation of discovery: of history, new places, and the culture(s) surrounding me. This has awakened a desire to explore my town back in the States. It’s easy to take things for granted, and I’ve decided I don’t want to do that anymore! I want to walk around downtown with friends and find some new place I’ve been before; find art I’ve never seen and learn things I didn’t previously know.
One final thing I’ve learned about myself is that I actually do enjoy cooking! Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t actually DONE any cooking at all over the past 3 months, but my host mom has shown us several different recipes and made such amazing food for us. I CANNOT WAIT to get back home and try making it all myself!
And there is so much more. I am excited/anxious to find out what kind of reverse culture shock I will experience going home, but I’m happy I have all these experiences to bring back with me. I am ready to be home, but I have loved my time here, and I’m definitely going to miss it. :)
Lydia Needham is a student at University of Nebraska and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in San Jose, Costa Rica.