Before and After

Authored by:
Ciara H.

Before coming to Alicante, I built this idea about what my experience would be like: I would travel around Europe, have so much fun, make many friends and meet new people, go to the beach every single day and be blessed by countless days of sun and warmth. But I was wrong to forget that those were my expectations and things could turn out to be completely different. I am not saying that you can’t hope for things to happen when you go abroad or that you can’t make them happen, but you also have to be aware that your expectations might not be met, at least not all of them. What it was actually like for me included all the fun and wonderful times, but also the "painful" and uncomfortable things like adapting to new food, a host family, new teaching styles, homesickness, etc. However, I did not expect to learn so much from my internship. I did not think that the time I spent in an organization would give me so much information and knowledge. I also did not expect that traveling alone would teach me so much about myself. Being on my own made me become resourceful, open to change, and comfortable with myself. In the end, I realized that studying abroad could mean two completely different things: what I thought the experience would be like and what it actually ended up being like- a before and an after. My advice to others would be to think about all the fun and wonderful experiences you’ll have if you go abroad, but also be conscious about the possibility of things not turning out the way you were hoping for because change is inevitable. My experience might not be like yours, but I think that it can help others prepare for when they go abroad.

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