Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Good Bye America, Hello España

     Well everyone, in 4 days I will be leaving the United States and boarding a plane headed for Barcelona.  I'd like to say that I'm so excited and happy to leave, but honestly I have trouble getting excited for the 4 months away from home and Saint Mike's.  When I was getting ready to go away to Paris I experienced the same apprehension, but once I got there and got really settled in to the Parisian lifestyle, I ended up loving the experience.  Hopefully it will be the same for me, nervous to leave at first but once I've gotten to Madrid and settled in I'll be fine. 

The differences:

     There are quite a few differences between my Paris Study Abroad and my Madrid Study Abroad:

  • The first being of course that I will be away for a whole semester, not just a month
  • I'm going to fly to Barcelona and then travel with a group to a couple different cities (Gerona, Barcelona, Valencia, and the Azahar coast) on a 10 day study tour and then go to Madrid, where I'll be for the rest of the semester
  • I will be staying with a host family and a roommate...fingers crossed for a good match!
  • I will be taking 5 classes at a University (although I did study at the University in Paris, I was only taking 2 courses)
  • I will have the opportunity to travel internationally, being in Paris for only a month with 2 planned weekend trips I didn't leave Paris to go to other countries, instead I chose to take advantage of what was offered in the city
  • I had to pack a lot more, and I have to think about clothing and shoes for several seasons whereas I only had to worry about summer weather in Paris

  • banking: make sure you get this done EARLY, like a month prior to leaving...it makes life a ton easier and maybe I'll learn that eventually
  • make sure your ATM card or whatever you use has a VISA logo on it, that means it will be accepted at more places because it is internationally recognized
  • passport: renew or get one SUPER early
  • currency: shop around to a couple different banks and see where you can get the best rates or special deals
  • get all your packing done early so that you can have time at the end to think of extra things you need
  • don't forget to check and research the weather patterns of your area
  • look at baggage requirements for your airline!
  • DO NOT OVER PACK, chances are you will buy clothes and other things abroad, so there is no need to pack every little thing you think you will possibly need, remember everyone is in the same boat so you can be an outfit repeater!
Well, that's all for now and I will definitely check in before I leave!


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