Say Yes to Every Opportunity

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High School Abroad in Spain

Authored By:

Annabelle S.

People often ask me what my biggest piece of advice is for future exchange students. Many things stick out to me, but the thing that sticks out to me the most is saying “yes” to every opportunity. Through my months here, I’ve learned that saying “yes” and approaching everything with an open mind can change your daily life and improve your time. Although it’s something that seems so simple, it can truly change the course of your experience abroad. 


On my first weekend in Spain, my host sisters invited me to Seville with them. At first, I didn’t want to go. I was still homesick, jet-lagged, and unfamiliar with everything around me. I ended up saying “yes” to the invitation, and I’m so glad about it. Going to Sevilla that day allowed me to get to know my host sisters, meet my host cousins, and meet my now, best friend. If I’d stayed at home and isolated myself, none of those things would’ve happened. 


A few weeks into my year abroad, I was struggling to find friends. I was sitting in my debate class when a girl sat next to me. We talked for the entire class and although I could only understand a little bit of what she was saying, we were able to form a connection. She invited me to come with her group during the “recreo.” I was hesitant at first. I was scared that her friend group wouldn’t like me or that I wouldn’t be able to understand anything they said. I said yes though. I needed to find friends and this was my chance. I went out with the girl from my debate class and her friends that weekend and every other weekend after that. If I had listened to my fears and not gone with them at recreo, I wouldn't have the amazing group of friends that I do now. 


One day after school a girl from my class invited me to go on a walk around our town together. I said “yes” without hesitation. Although going out with her would mess up my afternoon plans of studying and taking a nap, I was so excited to be invited to go out with somebody new. That afternoon, I went out with her and a few other girls from our class. Although it was just an hour of walking around town, it helped me get closer with the girls in my class. 


 Although saying “yes” seems like such a simple thing, you never know how it will change your experience.   The reason we study abroad is typically to learn about a new culture, make new friends, but most importantly, make new memories. By saying yes to every little opportunity, we enhance our time abroad and allow ourselves to have new experiences. Each time you go to the city with your friends or tag along with your host family on a trip to the grandparents house, you create new memories for both yourself and the people around you.