JOANNA DIMAS- For the past few weeks I had felt a little bit sluggish. I was constantly feeling tired and unmotivated to really do much. And like other bloggers have stated, many people who go abroad fail to mention these unglamorous feelings. But I want to add that for one, it is okay to feel this way. It takes time to adjust. I am a 20 year old who decided to spend her semester abroad in a new country only knowing a few people in the program. It is fine for it to take more than a month to truly feel comfortable and good with yourself. However, when these feelings pass, things feel much better.
Today, I feel really content. I was able to finally talk to my parents, and my entire family. I am feeling far more comfortable with my academic and extra curricular schedule. Classes are much more interesting for me now and I can see my Spanish reading and comprehension improving. Overall, feeling more settled is really satisfying. And I think what has really helped me is staying connected with my friends and family from back home. I know that during the first week of our program orientation, the staff mentioned how it is important to integrate oneself into Spanish society, and that if we felt ourselves constantly needing to talk with people from the States, maybe that was a feeling of being homesick (or maybe that was just my interpretation). Anyways, the program offers a very valid point. But for me, catching up with friends and family is essential. Knowing they are doing well gives me reassurance that all is good back home and that I can enjoy my time in Madrid.
During my fall semester, my family and I were going through some personal matters and I felt that I could not leave my family during a time of need. I had thought about taking the semester off in fact; however, my family knew this opportunity would not happen again. I am still very thankful that my parents convinced me to take part in this journey, but a part of me sometimes feels guilty for not being in the States; for not working and being able to contribute financially to the family. Even while I am abroad, I am helping pay bills, knowing that could be money used in Madrid. And then with my friends, it just started sinking in that some of my really good friends will be graduating this year and I will not be seeing them next year at Tufts.
Studying abroad in the spring definitely has its perks, but then it is also difficult remembering there are people who will no longer be on campus, and that changes may occur back home. But I guess that is part of the experience of being abroad. Knowing how to balance your life in a new country while remaining connected back to whatever extent you feel is necessary. I just know that in order for me to feel truly happy and really enjoy my time in Madrid, I need to stay in touch with my family and close friends back home.