Moving to a new country alone is one of the scariest yet bravest things, you will ever have to do. There is no denial that it will challenge you beyond belief, yet you will arrive back in Heathrow glowing with your newly-founded confidence and hopefully sun-kissed tan, beaming to your family and friends what an incredible journey it has been.
A year abroad can be stressful, and for those who cannot stand the thought of being away from home, (self-proclaimed home bunny over here) rest assure that it is easier than you think. The pain of leaving your family, not having a shoulder to cry on or an escape is overwhelming. When my mum left after 4 days of settling me in, I found it terrifying to say goodbye, however there is so much to explore and think about that you become caught up in your new life, discovering your home town and everything it has to offer. But just remember, a flight home is really just as easy as it sounds.
Just enjoy it! It truly is a magical experience, and I still stand by recommending anyone to go to a lesser-known city or town. I chose Córdoba and it was perfect. Filled with hundreds of cafe’s and tapas bars on every street yet it small enough you could experience every part of the city without using public transport. The best part was that there was so much to discover, yet everything started to feel like home and by the end of the year, you’ll be leaving a part of you behind.
Photo: Las Ermitas hiking trail – looking down on Córdoba
My Reflections and Advice
Talk about your worries or problems because there will always be somebody to talk to. Whether it is a friend you’ve recently made, or your mum who will always be a phone call away.
Everyone is in the same boat as you, or struggling with their own problems and worries so don’t be too hard on yourself. Things are never as they seem on the surface.
Don’t turn small obstacles into big ones, or take your self too seriously. Saying embarazada to express how embarrassed you are,when in reality in means pregnant happens to the best of us! All the funny mistakes we make always turn into great dinner conversation!
You will look back on your fondest memories so don’t miss up on the opportunity to create as many as you can. Experience it all, and don’t hold back because you only get one shot!
Find somewhere that suits you. I chose Córdoba because it was less known yet still a town filled with restaurants, shops and bars. Although many of my friends chose bigger cities like Madrid because of the cosmopolitan lively feel to it.
You will come back with a new understanding of a totally different culture, that will always be a part of you. Never underestimate the power of this.
Just enjoy it! Don’t ever put yourself in an uncomfortable position just because you think its the right thing to do. Keep doing you!
Don’t hold back on the fashion front! There’s always room to fit in a few more items, it’s cultural right?
Be open, and keep in touch with the people that made your trip! My friend Indra recently visited me and it was incredible to see each other again after going through so much together.
University or working are both important however don’t let it become your main focus or take over your life abroad.
Work hard, but if you study languages…get to know the culture! You won’t pick up Spanish in the classroom, yet in a local bar over a caña with the locals who can teach you all sorts of weird and wonderful expressions!
Travel! We took it upon ourselves to travel all over Spain on weekends and to take in as much of the Spanish culture as we possibly could! I did work before I came to Spain because I knew I did not want to be held back by money!