In my past five months in Europe, I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve had to adjust to many different cultures and really get out of my comfort zone. I came here completely solo and it’s been hard at times, but also an incredibly rewarding experience. I learned some good lessons along the way…ones I think are worth sharing:
Homesickness is normal
|My family and I in Valencia, Spain|
I never in my life have been homesick. I went to school five hours away from my parents for a reason, but when you’re halfway across the world it’s a whole different story. I miss my dog, my friends, my family and of course Chik Fil A.
You will get lost. A lot…
If it takes a normal person 20 minutes to get somewhere it takes me an hour. To say I’m directionally challenged is an understatement, and it took me a good month to figure out the metro here. Not to mention if I’m lost, I have no way to figure out where I’m going unless I physically ask someone. Asking is usually the best option, and has helped improve my Spanish a ton, which is a bonus J
Gaining weight is inevitable
Although I’ve stayed active abroad, I have definitely gained a few unwanted lbs. It’s hard to avoid because when you travel you have to try the food. I’m not not going to eat pasta and gelato when I go to Italy, because that would be dumb. You can definitely find me in the gym this summer though…
|Trdelnik, a dessert in Prague|
You will never sleep
It’s so hard to get a good night’s sleep abroad because I feel like I’m always on the go.
Spanish people go out at 12 and come back at 4. My flights are always super early in the morning (hello cheap options) and overnight busses are the norm. Not to mention all my friends in the states are 7 hours behind me, and like to FaceTime me at 2 a.m. my time.
|Getting into Budapest Late|
|My friends on the left in MS and me on the right in Spain|
You’ll learn to live without your phone
This one is a good one. I only can text and use data when I have Wi-Fi, and I’ve become a little less of a phone person. I can definitely attest to being addicted to my phone, but abroad has absolutely helped me to be more in the moment.
|Making a wish in the Trevi Fountain|
|Soaking up some sun in Ibiza|
You’ll have the time of your life
I’ve visited 11 countries over the course of my stay here. I’ve made some amazing friends, and have become pretty fluent in Spanish. I’m beyond grateful for this experience, and will cherish all the memories I’ve made.
|Chocolate & Strawberries in Interlaken|
Gracie D. is the Spring 2017 MOJO blogger in Madrid, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying integrated marketing communications at the University of Mississippi.
Gracie Darland is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain in Madrid, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Mississippi.