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Study Abroad Blog

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Choosing CEA Madrid

When I was first looking into going abroad, there were several programs that offered places I wanted to go. I had a difficult time narrowing down the specific city I wanted to study in, solely because there are so many incredible places in the world to go. How does someone choose just one? But I came to the conclusion that my goals for going abroad (improving my Spanish Language) could be greatly achieved by studying and living in Spain. I also loved the idea of the opportunity to be able to travel around Europe, as there are so many places to go and so many beautiful things to see. CEA was offering all the things I wanted in my study abroad program in Madrid: ways to connect with others, traveling, and helping me with the small details that can really stress a study abroad student out. CEA made going abroad less stressful than I expected and that was the greatest blessing.
 The little things
Fall semesters abroad mean holiday festivities 

The months and days leading up to my departure to Spain, I was extremely nervous. There are so many unknown aspects of going abroad, and not many things you can prepare for, whether it's a culture shock or even what to pack in your suitcase. Most of my nerves, personally were from the unknown. I remember I had friends who previously went abroad and kept telling me, “You’re a study abroad student, you’re not supposed to know exactly what you’re doing.” This really helped me overcome my nerves because I came to the realization that I don't have to have it all together, I’m not supposed to know what I’ll be doing in 3 months and I’m not supposed to know how to fit in right off the bat. There are things you will have to experience in order to learn, to grow and to be acclimated to your new home for the next 4 months. The unknown is beautiful, finding peace in the unknown and knowing that growth was coming kept me grounded.
 You get to learn the culture by not always being prepared.
 And the culture is beautiful

My personal outlook has changed a lot being abroad. I see the world in a whole different light being abroad and I have a greater appreciation for life in general. I’ve met so many different people who are a lot like me and some who aren’t, and that’s been the most eye opening thing: meeting people and hearing their stories. I’ve heard new perspectives about ideas and talked about beliefs and values. So many of us get clouded by our comfortable settings back in the US that we loose sight of the differences of beliefs, values, and cultural characteristics that the world has. Being abroad has opened my eyes to the different cultures of the world and how to completely appreciate and embrace them.

Lauryn H. is the Fall 2017 MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain. She is currently a Senior studying Exercise Science at Belmont University.

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