Josie B. is currently a junior at SYA Spain and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Lakeside School in Washington.
When I was deciding whether or not to do SYA Spain, my biggest argument for the “not” side was “I can just do a year abroad in college.” After having spent just under five months as a high school junior in Zaragoza, however, I can confidently tell you why “I can just do it in college” is a horrible reason to give up SYA.
First of all, it is SO easy to just apply! All you need to do is fill out some information, write a few personal statements, get a recommendation and hit submit. I’m even putting the link right here. As long as you apply, you will at least have the option to make a choice, and if it turns out that (for some crazy reason) you decide not to go, no pasa nada! There was no harm in practicing the personal statements for your college apps, and now that teacher will have material to pull from for your college letters of recommendation.
So, why travel abroad now? My first response to “why now” is why NOT now? You only have one life, and as we get older, we take on more responsibility- there is no way to know what the future holds; perhaps certain changes, events or circumstances will inhibit you from being able to travel abroad later in life.
You will only have one opportunity in your entire life to live in a foreign city with a host family in high school. The experience of being involved in the young teenage community of Zaragoza, visiting high schools and playing on a soccer team with local girls is a unique one that I could not have had I chosen to come four years later. It is also a huge plus that, at age sixteen, I’ve had the opportunity to see and learn about almost every region in Spain. I’ve been here for five months and have already traveled to Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Cádiz, Córdoba, Astún and Alquézar. Next month I’m going to Paris with my class. You don’t want to be the kid who spends another boring year of high school regretting that he/she turned down the exciting, educational, growth-filled year that SYA promises.
This year is particularly exciting, educational and growth-filled due to how young we are. To be part of such an eye-opening experience while we are young and especially impressionable is major. As teenagers in high school, we don’t know yet what we want to be or where we want to live in the world; we are still discovering our passions and interests, and we are in the process of figuring out what the heck we want to do with our lives. Since coming to SYA, not only have my passions, interests and plans for the future changed, my entire view of humans, culture and the world has also changed. It is sickening to imagine all the learning, self-discovery and relationships I would have missed out on had I not come to Zaragoza and had I not come to Zaragoza at this age.
You can be the sad old lady sitting in her wooden rocking chair who looks back on her life and thinks, Dang. I should have listened to that Josie Barton girl from the SYA Spain class of 2019. Or, you can be the bold, courageous, worldly old lady who looks back on her life and thinks, Qué vida tan increíble he tenido desde que elegí hacer SYA. ¡Muchas gracias, Josie! I already know I’ll be the latter. What about you?
- Campus Reporters
- SYA Spain