Studying away is an incredible experience, but spending a semester abroad in a different country is a whole different ballgame. Spending a few weeks studying abroad in Australia was magical, but now things get a little more complicated as I will spend the 2018 spring semester studying in Sevilla, Spain. I’m thankful that I could study away beforehand because now I now know what to expect and have some travel knowledge beforehand.
The main difference between studying away in the summer versus studying away for a semester is mainly travel costs. Obviously spending three to four months is going to be more expensive than spending three to four weeks in the summer. Expenses while there then become a bigger priority. Spending a semester abroad requires you to budget yourself and be aware of how much you spend on things such as food, transportation, flights to other countries, etc. In Australia, I did not have too much time to travel and explore on my own, as we were on a relatively busy schedule.
Since I’m spending the upcoming semester in Spain, the language barrier will be a major factor to my experience. In Australia it was never a problem, but there’s not many English speaking people in Spain, so this will force me to improve my Spanish speaking skills and become fluent, or close to fluent in Spanish. One thing that I think will help me not only improve my Spanish skills but also help me get more out of this experience is my love for soccer. Since the spaniards are mad for soccer, I’m sure I’ll fit right in.
Being in Europe for about three and a half months, I will definitely want to explore and travel to different countries to visit friends and experience more of Europe. This will definitely require me to make sure that I manage my time and expenses very carefully. I will not have a job in Spain, so I can’t afford to spend all my money right away. In Australia, I didn’t have to budget my money as much as I’ll have to in Spain.
I also will be living with a host family in Sevilla, instead of living with a bunch of other american college students in a hostel. I believe this will help me get more out of my experience as I’ll be able to spend plenty of time with true spaniards and they can help me get the best out of Spain.
So the expenses and planning can be nerve wracking, but studying away before has really helped relieve some tensions. As long as I plan accordingly, I know I’ll be fine. Either way, I’m excited and very thankful that I get this opportunity to study away for a second time. I’m excited to experience a new culture and improve my spanish speaking skills.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at email@example.com
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