(With a few pitstops along the way:)
WOW!! I can’t believe that I am writing a blog for Hope Off-Campus right now, AKA, I can’t believe I am about to start a semester ABROAD!
Preparing for this crazy adventure has surprised me in so many ways. In moments that I thought I would struggle to say goodbye and leave my communities, I have been faced with excitement for what is to come and hope that my friendships from home will remain intact despite physical distance. Rather than anxiously packing the night before my flight, I prepared weeks in advance. Crazy how much I’ve already learned about myself before I’ve even left the United States!
I am in the international terminal of the Atlanta airport. Again, it is so crazy that I am here. I packed my final things this morning, ate lunch with my parents, and then was dropped off at the airport. That was a weird feeling as someone who has never flown alone. I went through security and got to my gate where I sat and processed that what was happening was real life. To say I feel blessed to be able to have an experience like this is a HUGE understatement.
I arrived in Paris and was approached by some students asking if I was in their program (I am!). Now we are traveling the rest of the way together which alleviates so much stress and makes traveling a little bit more fun!
We have landed in Málaga, Spain, and are taking a taxi to a hotel to meet up with our program staff! We are all EXHAUSTED, but so excited to see parts of this beautiful country!
One of our first views of Spain! A beautiful beach filled with palm trees during sunset! GOLDEN HOUR! All of the buildings looked so beautiful! The sunset as we were walking through Málaga! A mirror selfie from the bathroom of the hotel where we met up with our program staff. I was feeling very grateful to be done traveling and finally in the hands of IES:)
There are still a lot of unknowns to come throughout the rest of this semester. As I’ve prepared for this semester, I’ve found myself feeling very rooted in knowing that, at the end of the day, God has control over whatever happens. I have found myself in a posture of prayer often as I prepared for this experience and throughout this travel day. (I also watched Mamma Mia! on my first flight, which definitely calmed some nerves and set my expectations HIGH for Europe haha).
I am feeling SUPER excited for what is to come — the adventures, the challenges, the personal growth, the people I will meet, and the ways my language skills will (hopefully) improve. I am so excited to use this blog as a platform to normalize the highs and lows of studying abroad, while also recording my experiences and growth throughout the semester. So, follow along if you please!! ¡Vamos a España!