What I Have Learned So Far

Meredith M. is currently a junior at SYA Spain and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Milton Academy in Massachusetts.

Three months have passed since I moved to Spain. Three months have passed since I said goodbye to my family, boarded the plane, and arrived in Zaragoza. Three months have passed since I entered the world of Spanish, of endless new vocabulary, of curiosity, of confusion. Three months have passed, and as I sit here writing this, I realize that in just these short three months, I have achieved so much. 

That is the thing about doing something scary - you end up discovering a lot about yourself. And, so far, I have made some pretty big revelations. So, here are the life lessons I have learned so far: 

  1. Always embrace discomfort. Yes, this is easier said than done, but always worth it. There have definitely been many conversations and situations over the course of this fall that have pushed me far out of my comfort zone. It is scary to rely on my Spanish and to put myself out there in front of people every day. However, it is only when you push your limits that you learn to believe in yourself and your capabilities. I will cherish forever the relationships I have made as a result of awkward and uncomfortable situations. 

  2. I need to trust the process. Learning a new language, and navigating life with a host family is no easy feat. However, with time and effort, the sounds and words that were once so confusing have begun to make sense, and my host family’s house has begun to feel like a home. I was impatient at first and wanted everything to fall into place perfectly right away. But I have learned that I must give the process of change time, I must give relationships time to develop. Just three months in, I feel comfortable in my new life here in Zaragoza.

  3. I want to always be open to trying new things. Living abroad, I have had so many opportunities to try out something new - whether it be a filmmaking class or a flamenco lesson. And, each time, I have had great, unique experiences that teach me a lot about Spanish culture. The opportunities to try new things is one of the most special aspects of SYA. Back at home, I felt like I never had the time to begin a new sport, or to start a new hobby. Here, this kind of exploration is encouraged, and I have discovered so many new interests and met so many wonderful people. I now know that I never want to stop exploring the world and finding new interests.

To me, it feels as if the past three months have flown by until I stop and really think about all that I have done. In just three months, I have grown so much. I have fully and successfully immersed myself in a new culture, and dedicated myself to learning a new language and country. I have travelled and seen new places and people, and made relationships that I know will last a lifetime. With all of the growing and learning that I have already experienced, I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year will bring. 

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