Homestay decision led to a new family

Image with host mom and host brother’s dog!

When planning out my study abroad experience, the one question I would constantly be stuck on was, “Should I live with a homestay family or live in the apartment option that IES Santiago offered?” For some background context, at Hope residential life was a huge part of my experience and time while I was there. I was a resident assistant in Scott Hall for my sophomore and junior year, and then I was a neighborhood coordinator for the fall semester before leaving for Chile. Being a part of res life was the highlight of my Hope experience and all that I received from being an RA and NC was extremely impactful in my personal growth. I enjoyed everything that came from being a part of res life. The team I got to have, the people I got to connect with, the residents I had, and the bonds I was able to build with them even after their time in Scott. I really enjoyed planning and attending events, but the best part was having a tightly knit community that I was able to feel not only during my freshman year when I lived in Scott, but the three full years that I got to experience within that building. Because of the unique experience I had living in Scott for most of my college journey, living in an apartment complex with college-aged students in Chile sounded really tempting. I would be able to be surrounded by people my age who could be going through the same emotions and experiences as myself. The apartment complex housed international students from different programs but also had a mix of Chilean students. It seemed like the perfect option for me, especially because it was what I was used to. But isn’t the whole study abroad experience about immersing yourself and living with a host family? 

See, when I was researching Chile and its customs/traditions, I came across something that was interesting but not surprising for me, especially since I’m Hispanic as well. Typically in Chile, college-aged students do not move out of their homes and live on their university campus. They tend to still live with their parents while they are still studying and continue to live with their parents for a long time. Moving out and living on campus is more of a common experience for the US than it is for countries in South America. They have a more traditional ideology, something I also encountered with a few family members when I decided to leave Chicago and move to Michigan. However, I was so used to having lived independently since 2019, when I moved to Hope. Since I was also involved with summer research, every summer I would still live on campus and the time that I would spend living at home with my family was very minimal. Deciding to live with a host family again was something that I really had to think about because I did want to immerse myself in the culture. I already spoke Spanish so it wasn’t that it would better my speaking abilities, but it would teach me more about Chileans and give me a support system that I might need when going through the emotions/culture shock that I could experience while being abroad. 

Finally, I ended up living with a host family, or host mom. When I arrived to her house, we were able to sit down and get to know each other but we also were able to talk about expectations for both of us. She was such a sweet person and very welcoming but something that was important for her was communication, which I totally understood. However, this was something that I really struggled with at first. I wasn’t used to texting someone to let them know I was heading out of the house, when I arrived at my class, whether or not I needed lunch, when I got home, and what my plans were in between other things. It was definitely a learning curve but something that my host mom and I were able to meet in the middle and understand each other. 

There were many moments that were a learning curve throughout my homestay experience. One impactful learning moment occurred at the beginning of my study abroad. Upon having hours and hours of conversations with my host mom, I realized all the stereotypes and inaccurate impressions that many Chileans had of “Americans” and of the US. My host mom would refer to a lot of things that she had seen in movies that portrayed the US in a way that was not the same as what I personally experienced in the US. It was interesting to hear all her points of view and talk to her about my personal experiences living in the US. These were all fruitful conversations that I am really thankful for. They gave me a new perspective and pushed me into having conversations that might be a bit uncomfortable but allowed for a learning experience for both my host mom and me. I realized that the homestay experience was definitely what I needed and made my experience in Chile way better because of the conversations, new communication skills, the support system and actually having a genuine Chilean family!

Ma’a Salama

I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How

do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?

Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?

Darwish, Mahmoud. “In Jerusalem.” Translated by Fady Joudah, The Butterfly’s Burden, Copper Canyon Press, 2008.

Ma’a salama is a way of saying goodbye in Arabic. It literally means “with peace.” As my time in Jordan draws to a close, I would like to end with peace.

It’s no secret that the Levant region has seen a lot of conflict. I am writing this on the May 15th, which is the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe: the day when the state of Israel declared independence and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were violently expelled from their homeland. Seventy-five years later, the conflict is ongoing, and no end to the violence is in sight.

Living in Jordan, the Palestinian issue is impossible to avoid. A majority of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian descent, and the West Bank is just a few hours away. I looked over the border into Palestine and Israel several times this semester. What made this especially unsettling was that the border often coincided with sites of religious significance: at the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized; in Um Quais, where Jesus cast demons into a herd of pigs and we could see into Syria, Israel, and the West Bank; at the Red Sea, which God parted for the children of Israel.

At the beginning of the semester, before our first excursion to the Jordan River baptism site, I read the story of Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings. It talks about Elisha parting the water of the Jordan River:

He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.

2 Kings 2:14, New International Version

“Where now is the God of Elijah?” I’ve found myself asking this question a lot this semester. The land on the East and West banks of the Jordan River is revered in the three Abrahamic religions. Is God still present in this land, thousands of years after the events of the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran? God parted the water of the Jordan River for Elisha; will God respond when the water of the Jordan dries up? When water becomes yet another casualty of the Arab-Israeli conflict? Does God still care about injustice and fight on behalf of the oppressed?

Jordan River

I’m not leaving Jordan with any answers, just a deep love and respect for this little country bearing the brunt of so much conflict.

And last but not least, Salaam.

Darwish, Mahmoud. “To a Young Poet.” Translated by Fady Joudah, Poetry, March 2010.

Coffee Culture in Italy

Although very popular in the States, coffee is entirely different in Italy. Forget flavored lattes (unless you want a cup of milk), frappucinos, and iced coffees, and dive into Italian coffee’s simplicity.

Disclaimer: there are places in Milan where you can get an iced coffee (12oz coffee).

A typical morning coffee order would consist of a single shot of espresso, sometimes served with some cream in a small cup. A caffe can be consumed almost all hours as a pick-me-up to keep the day’s energy going. My institution professor once mentioned that she believes it’s typical for someone to drink four to five shots of espresso daily, which was crazy to me. Another specific coffee order would be a cappuccino. This espresso with heavy-frothed milk is only consumed during breakfast as it is deemed strange to finish it after! Those are the most popular coffee orders, but a few honorable mentions would be caffe macchiato, americano, and affogato (this is coffee with ice cream!). The coffee in Milan typically isn’t sweet, but you always have the option to add a few sugars.

After coming to Milan, I fell in love with just a simple caffe, which I would never think to order back home. The flavor of coffee here is very strong and something I often could not go a day without. My favorite place to get coffee in Milan is called Caffe Napoli. This cafe is inspired by authentic coffee from Naples and is the best coffee I have ever had in my entire life. I typically get a single espresso here, which is surprisingly sweet and served with a small glass of water. Here they also have a multitude of delicious cafes, all with different designs and flavors. If you are ever in Italy or can try Caffe Napoli, you will not regret it!

(Also, the specific Cafe Napoli I go to is off Cadorna Station in Milano. It is across from a delicious cannoli place called Ammu, so you can always stop and get a tasty snack with your coffee!)

My Daily Italian Breakfast

I have attended my classes for about the entire semester, so I have fully adapted to the Italian breakfast lifestyle. Breakfast in Milan looks different than my typical breakfast in America. Every Monday and Wednesday, I have class at 9:00 am, and with the commute being so early, I typically don’t get a coffee or breakfast until after class; however, after class, I go to a cafe in-between my two classrooms called Crumb Cafe. This Cafe has wifi, so I can get work done while I eat breakfast. I do not order pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc., but I order a caffe Americano and a brioche (croissant). This is funny because in most of Italy, croissants are called cornetto, but in Milan, it is called a brioche. This breakfast, I have learned to love. Brioches are so good and can be filled with jam, chocolate, pistachio, and many other flavors. My personal favorite is apricot-flavored filling!

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to my favorite cafe nearby. The people who work here are so kind and honestly have the absolute best brioches, sandwiches, coffee – you name it. Here I typically order a coffee and a chocolate Brioche. They value relationships, as they always greet me with a smile and are patient with me as I practice my Italian. As much as I miss a hardy breakfast, there is something special about starting the day with something sweet.

A Homebody’s Guide to Studying Abroad: Tips for Introverts

1. Expect to sometimes experience discomfort

Studying abroad will, without a doubt, push you outside of your comfort zone. I’ve felt awkward or out of place so many times this semester: in the extended family gatherings at my homestay, when conversations in Arabic pile on top of each other and I can’t understand any of it. When I venture out in a large group (i.e. more than two people) with the other students in my program. Even when pushing my way through the downtown Amman crowds, with vendors yelling the names of their products and too many people spilling off of the sidewalk.

POV: When ancient Roman tunnels are the only good place to hide from people

In times of discomfort, I’ve found it helpful to remember that I was seeking to move out of my comfort zone when I decided to come here. When my social battery is running low and I’m feeling inadequate for living with a host family or unable to connect with my friends, I remind myself that this was my purpose in studying abroad. I expected to sometimes feel out of place and be pushed into discomfort. This is the only way to grow.

2. Fill your cup

While discomfort is important, it’s also important to take care of your mental health. You want to strike a balance between pushing yourself to grow and making sure to not burn out.

Before I left for the semester, I drafted a list of activities that fill my cup. Things like going on long walks, writing, and calling my family all help me to recharge my social battery so that I have the full capacity to enjoy trying new things and socializing in large groups.

Taking care of your mental health doesn’t have to mean that you stop engaging with the culture. Look for ways to learn more while also recharging. For me, I spent a lot of time this semester reading poetry by Arab and Muslim writers. Reading gives me life and is something I love to do. I was able to connect it to the place I am living so that I could learn more about the culture of this region, while at the same time letting myself be alone and recharge.

We will dance                                          in the wreckage drink the coffee

our dead left brewing                             we will open our tombs

to windows for the sea                            in order

for the sea to remain                               besieged

Joudah, Fady. “Tell Life.” Poetry, November 2013.

3. Don’t compare

Everyone has a different experience with studying abroad. It is extremely unhelpful to compare yourself with other students in your program. Maybe they’ve made a bunch of local friends while you’ve only met a few people, or they spend their weekends going on day trips while you prefer to stick close to home.

Study abroad students all have different personalities, prior travel experiences, goals, and budgets. Moving out of the comfort zone looks different for everyone. Figure out what works best for you, and then stick to that. Don’t let comparisons get in the way—they’re never going to help you.

Take breaks when you need to!

4. Embrace exploring by yourself

It took me some time to become comfortable enough in Amman to walk around alone, but once I did, it turned into one of my favorite things to do. Make sure you know how to be safe in your location (especially important if you’re a female student)—but then go exploring! An incomplete list of my favorite places I’ve gone on my own:

  1. Prince Hashem Bird Garden: in Shmeisani, the neighborhood next to mine, this was the first place I went by myself. It’s an adorable tiny zoo/park with birds, a playground, and benches that are great for picnicking.
  2. Suq al Jum’ah/Friday Market: this is a huge outdoor market that takes place on Thursday nights and Fridays. It sells mostly secondhand clothes for very low prices. It can be a little overwhelming, but I love going here when I have some extra time on the weekends.
  3. Jellyfish Boba: as I’m writing this, it’s been two days since my last visit. I need to go back soon, I think I’m starting to have withdrawal…
  4. Geocaching: such a great way to explore! I love going geocaching when I’m at home, but geocaching in a foreign country is a whole new level of fun.
Ostrich at the bird garden!

If you’re an introvert thinking about studying abroad, I hope these tips will be helpful for you! Studying abroad doesn’t have to force you to pretend to be an extrovert or change your personality. It can actually help you to gain more appreciation for your own unique strengths.

Denver Memories to Last a Lifetime!

Each happiness of yesterday is a memory for tomorrow.

Unknown

Life is about adventures, both the small ones that take no courage at all, and big ones that take all the courage you can muster. Denver has been one of the biggest adventures I have ever taken on. From being 18 hours away from home, living in a big city for the first time, to having an incredible internship, nothing could have prepared me for this! This is a combination of all of my favorite memories and experiences throughout the semester!

Skiing was something that I had never done before coming to Denver. But it was one of my favorite things that I did. Learning something new is so much fun and there is nothing better than failing and getting right back up to do it all over again. The improvement that I made throughout the three times I went was not what I was expecting. I am so incredibly grateful for Jolie who taught me all of her tricks, even though I am still not great. Learning is a process, and you will never know if you can do something until you try. The three times I went were so special to me and I would not have wished for anything different.

Rocky Mountain National Park was another highlight of my semester! And it was even more fun to go with my housemates and enjoy the beautiful views. I do not think that is something you can see anywhere else in the world. And although it was cloudy and snowing it was worth the trip and worth the time spent with friends!

One of the most challenging things that I did this semester that was 100% worth it was the Manitou Incline. It has the prettiest views and takes a lot of motivation, but it truly is like nothing else you could ever do. And the hike down is just as worth it! I am very grateful that I got to do this with Bri and spend Easter weekend with her doing fun popular Denver things.

There were so many things that I did this semester that truly made it incredible. But the last thing that I am going to mention is the time spent with Jolie, Alex, and Maria. Jolie and Alex were two of the other people in the program, and we spent the most time together. And Maria was our residential coordinator (or RA). Denver would not have been the same without these three. They have pushed me to become a better person in so many ways. We had so many fun adventures together including hiking, Red Rocks sunrises, going to the zoo, skiing, Rocky Mountain National Park, and so many more. This semester would not have been the same without them, and I am very thankful for all of them!

Thank you for following all of my adventures throughout the semester! I have really enjoyed sharing my adventures and having a creative outlet to share more than pictures! 

Aurora Franzon 2024

The Impact of Denver Rescue Mission

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

Francis of Assisi

If someone would have told me four months ago how hard it would be to leave my internship, I would not have believed them. As a lot of things do, my internship started off rocky. I was very unsure of myself and was convinced that as an intern, there was not much I could contribute to Denver Rescue Mission. There were times I felt that my work was sub-par and that I would never be able to write three blog posts that were good enough to post for a large organization. It was different than writing for the Hope College Off-Campus Study Blog. So many more people were going to see it, and there were a lot more design pieces to it than I thought I would ever know how to do. I felt so small in an organization that has hundreds of employees and is considered one of the largest rescue missions in the United States. That alone was intimidating. 

Throughout my internship, I had the chance to learn from people all throughout the development team and so many more. From working with the CEO Brad Meuli to film his retirement video, to simply keeping track of important numbers on social media, each piece is crucial to ensuring that the Mission is thriving. I learned so much about the amount of work that goes into the newsletters by transcribing them and even having the chance to help write one of the smaller sections for one that will come out in July. There is so much more to each piece than you think, both in the newsletters that are published and with each position that someone holds. Each one is important in its own way. Without each person doing their job to the best of their ability, nothing would ever be achieved, which is why it is important to always show appreciation. 

Appreciation for learning and helping others leads you to learning what your passions are. Because I had the opportunity to work in so many different areas of public relations teams, it gave me time to learn what I did and did not enjoy doing. I learned how much I enjoy photography and being able to tell people’s stories through pictures. Getting to work at the Easter Banquet at the 48th Avenue Center was one of the best experiences I had while I was here. Because I interned in public relations, I do not have the opportunity to have much, if any, contact with guests at different facilities or participants in the programs, but for Easter I did. There were two banquets at two locations at the same time. So Linneya, the content specialist, went to one to do pictures, and I was tasked with doing the other. At first I was intimidated, as I had never picked up a good camera before this semester, and it is a slow learning process. But from the beginning, Linneya worked with me to teach me the basics.

Working at the banquet allowed me to not only learn more and improve my photography skills, but also to actually interact with guests. It was intimidating at first because it requires having people sign a photo release form. But when I thought about it more, it was not about simply getting the picture for the Mission to use. It was about sitting down and talking to people, learning about them and their hobbies, and then if they were willing to get a picture. Not everyone wants that, which is completely fine. But those that I got to sit and talk with were what made the experience so much better. They had happiness for where they were at the moment. So often in the United States especially, we take for granted the things that we have, places we live, and accessibility of everything. But if that is all taken away, people have to focus on something else. The Mission is here to provide hope – to provide a safe space where people can come and work on improving their life if they want to. I got to be a part of something so special and truly make an impact on someone’s day. Even if it was the only positive thing that happened to them, it was something. And that small something can turn into so much more without us even realizing it. 

This internship has been one of the best experiences of my life. Everyone at the Mission is so kind and only want to help the guests, as well as the interns. I am going to miss all of the people more than I ever could have expected. I am glad I get to walk away with so many great connections, friends, and family. Denver Rescue Mission will always hold a special place in my heart.

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Aurora Franzon 2024

Final Adventures

 The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you are the pilot.

Michael Altshuler

These past couple of weeks have been crazy trying to get homework assignments finished and turned in while still trying to make the most out of Denver. Last weekend was filled with sitting in coffee shops for hours on end finishing papers and presentations that were due last week and this week (after all homework is important).

One of the things I had to do this semester was get “cultural hours” – exploring new cultures through museums, restaurants, and events in Denver. I only needed a couple more hours, so I decided to go to the Colorado History Center. The Colorado History Center is a museum that is pretty close to where our housing is, and it was raining on Friday a few weeks ago so it was not possible to do anything outside for a long period of time. I definitely could have spent more time looking at the exhibits and reading the information about the different cultures and history of Denver, but I also needed to finish some homework, so I only stayed for about three hours. That gave me enough time to walk through all of the exhibits and really read into about two of them. The one that stood out to me the most was their Sand Creek Massacre exhibit. If you have never heard about the Sand Creek Massacre, it happened in 1864 and centered around the Cheyenne and Arapaho Native American tribes. The US government sent troops in at dawn and killed 230 men, women, and children. This exhibit showed the reality by telling the stories of people from the US army as well as people who experienced the massacre and what they experienced. There were original handwritten letters from US soldiers writing back to command saying they would not participate in the horrific actions they were being told to perform, and stories from Arapaho and Cheyenne chiefs, very few of which survived.

These types of stories are not told in history books very often, and when they are, rarely does it ever show the full story or damage of what occurred. It is important to go to museums like this to truly understand what the United States has done to acquire the land we have today and to recognize all the people who were killed simply because of the land they lived on. 

On a more positive note, the weather was really nice for a couple weeks which meant it was perfect to go to the park and hang out, have a picnic, or go for a walk. Denver is a huge city with so many parks and I am grateful to live really close to one of them that has a trail around the outside and plenty of grass area to sit and people watch. Last Sunday a few of my housemates and I went and had a picnic dinner at the park and hung out for a while before the start of the week to enjoy the weather because the next day it snowed. We got to see a ton of dogs, and I am not a dog person, but some of them were super sweet. That is the one thing I actually enjoy about Denver – the dogs here are very well trained and rarely, if ever, do they jump on you or bark. Props to all of the dog owners in Denver who know how to train their dogs well!

For our last weekend in Denver, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park. This has been on my bucket list of things to do since the beginning of the semester, and I was told many times by people at my internship that I had to go. We had waited until the end of the semester hoping that the weather would be nice and we would have clear skies to see all of the mountains. Well, that was not the case. It was snowing and about 30 degrees outside. But it was still very worth it, and unbeknownst to us, Saturday April 22 was free admission day because it was the start of National Park week. It was also Earth Day, although that was not the reason it was free, but that made it even nicer! We decided to do the Emerald lake trail because that had been the most recommended by all of my co-workers and other people I had talked to. We did not bring a map with us which was fine until we started doing the Haihaha overpass, which is a trail that goes over the mountain. Thankfully someone turned us back the other direction, so we did not hike the entire trail thinking it was short. Emerald lake would be a gorgeous place to be, especially in the summer when you can actually see the lake! Not to say it was not pretty with the snow, but it was covered in snow so there was really no way of knowing that it was the lake other than the fact that everyone said it was. 

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Aurora Franzon 2024

Thoughts on Failure

You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.

Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping.

Even those who limp go not backward.

Gibran, Khalil. “On Good and Evil” from The Prophet. Albatross Publishers, 2015.

Time in Jordan seems to be speeding up as I enter the last few weeks of my time here.

I’ve been thinking about my goals from back when I started the program and whether or not I have achieved them. And, to be honest, there are a lot that I haven’t achieved.

Here’s a sample of some things I did NOT do:

  • Learn to speak Arabic fluently or read Arabic poetry
  • Achieve a complete understanding of the geopolitics of the Middle East. I still can’t name all the parties currently fighting in Syria or explain the factors contributing to Jordan’s high rate of youth unemployment.
  • Learn to cook Jordanian food without my host mom’s help
  • Get a gym membership or exercise consistently
POV: Me when I should be studying Arabic

To be honest, this can be a bit of a downer. It’s easy to blame myself for what I didn’t do while I was here.

But when I reframe these thoughts, I also need to remember everything I DID do that is worthy of celebration:

  • Traveled outside of the U.S. for the first time in my life
  • Rode a camel
  • Took a bus to Irbid, in northern Jordan, all by myself to visit a new friend at her university
  • Found the best bubble tea shop in Amman and singlehandedly kept it in business for three months (this is only a slight exaggeration)
  • Wrote a 35+ page research paper about refugee identity (*technically not yet, but it will be done next week)
  • Learned enough Arabic to read street signs, communicate with taxi drivers, and ask about prices in stores. And, along the way, made friends and cemented my determination to keep studying Arabic after I get home.

No two people experience studying abroad the same way, and it’s not fair to compare yourself to others. For me, some days it was an achievement just to get out of bed and make it to class. Sometimes practicing Arabic just meant using Arabic to ask my host mom how her day was, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone meant walking to a new park after school instead of staying in my room all afternoon.

Studying abroad is hard, and it’s okay if you don’t accomplish everything you wanted to achieve. In the end, simply making it out of the U.S. was an achievement in and of itself. Regardless of what happened or did not happen during my time here, I’m proud that I made it through a whole semester in a new country.

Goals

I want to talk about something that I feel like isn’t normally touched on when people talk about going abroad: Setting goals. Actually more importantly, “doing” goals. It is easy to go abroad with the goal being, well, going abroad. However, having goals to achieve while you are abroad is what grounds you where you’re at.

This might disappoint you, but it is for your own good! I have heard many stories and seen many people around me who go abroad, spend most of their time in their room, and then go back to their home country filled with copious amounts of regret. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the time they spent inside felt meaningful to them (and therefore would leave no regretful feelings behind). However, most of these stories I’ve heard seem like the “victims” entered this sort of limbo space, not quite sure what to do with themselves in this new country.

The feeling of not knowing what to do with oneself

I want to iterate that I am by no means saying that these people are failures or that they did something wrong. Everyone reacts to new environments differently and there is nothing wrong with recognizing that you feel uncomfortable with the sudden changes in your life. In fact, I have experienced that very feeling! If you go abroad for an extended period of time, you are likely to experience it too, and I’m going to tell you how I have, over time, been learning to deal with it.

Exploring everyday is exhausting. Once you’ve tried every KitKat flavor, and had a convenience store machine make your coffee enough times, you don’t care for the shiny stuff so much. Human beings at our core are pretty greedy, and we get used to new shiny things pretty fast (and then want more). Your new friends you made are busy, or you’ve got a bunch of school work that prevents you from hopping on a shinkansen to a new place of wonder, and man you’re tired of not knowing what to do with yourself. This is where I think setting goals and working towards them is really beneficial while you’re abroad, or even when you feel your life stalling period.

So many KitKat flavors

Studying abroad is just living in a new place. No matter where you go, life follows. If you were back in your hometown, you probably aren’t going on crazy adventures everyday or meeting strangers in cinematic ways. What makes living our day to day lives exciting is having something we are working towards. Not only will these goals give you a sense of meaning amidst a time where you feel out of a place, but it will also give you more confidence within that place as you accomplish more.

Let me give you an example. Recently I decided I wanted to add weight lifting and running at least two times a week to my routine. While I can weight lift in my room (I have my ways), if I want to run, I have to run outside. The first time I ran outside I felt weird, but because I had this goal, I knew what I had to do! I had a purpose behind my action which triumphed over any hesitation leaving my room. With time, I have gotten really comfortable running outside, and now feel really comfortable with the area I live in. Even have had some nice interactions with locals because of it (dropped my keys haha!)

Looking at the next goal ahead

You can make your goals anything. Whether it is working towards a new skill, expanding your social life, or even doing things that only real locals would do, like going to a part-time job interview (blog post on that soon!). You will regret sitting in your room doing nothing, but you won’t regret sitting in your room doing something that matters to you. If you really want to LIVE in a new country, you can’t leave yourself behind!

Happy Goal-doing 🙂