It is a very big decision to decide to take the daring leap to study abroad. If you think back all those months to a very different “you”–the version of yourself that had no clue all of the trials, adventures and memories that the coming months would hold–what would you tell yourself? What would you tell your younger self to tell them that the daunting and some what scary decision to move abroad would be worth it? As my semester quickly comes to an end, I would tell myself that it isn’t one big moment that makes it all worth while, but an accumulation of all the small moments that changed you in a really big way.
I remember my first month here, I was scared of not clicking with anyone in my program and being painfully lonely for a whole semester. Fast forward to April and I just got back from a trip to Greece with an incredible group of people. While there, we visited Athens and the island of Naxos. It was in Naxos where we climbed the top of Apollo’s hill surrounded by the ocean and watched the most breathtaking sunset. Watching the fiery orange go to sleep behind the ocean made me wish I could show this sunset and these friends to the girl I was in January, who worried herself sick over not meeting any friends. A small moment that would have put her heart at peace.
I remember not feeling smart enough and void of purpose when I first got here, struggling to carry simple conversations in the native language and being too embarrassed to really try. Now I look around and am proud of all the ways I am struggling on the day to day. All of my classes are taught in Spanish, I attend Spanish clubs, groups, and social gatherings almost every day of the week. I began teaching a young Spanish boy English. He wants was too shy to say hi to me, but last Monday we played freeze dance to American music and raced toy cars around as I taught him colors. This small moment would have crushed so much doubt about not having purpose or not being smart enough.
Today I sat on my bed for so long worrying over what will be next for me. What will I do when I graduate? We worry so much about what’s to come, but once it happens, we wondered why we worried at all. What small moments will be next that I will wish I could show the me I am today to put to rest all of my needless worries?
In Spain we have a saying “Así es la vida“, which means “that’s just life”. We have so many big decisions to make in life. Studying abroad was just one of mine. If I have learned anything from this past semester, it is that we can choose to worry over the future, or look forward to all the small moments we can’t yet see that make that one really big leap of faith worth it.