Travel Correspondent: Angela, Spain, Blog 2
In every stage of life, navigating emotions can be tricky. Even if you’re in a tranquil season and life is going well, emotions can catch you by surprise. My first week in Valencia, I moved to a host family. While my first impression of my host mom was just how kind she was, it was a bittersweet moment. My father had flown over with me to Spain, you see, and this was the first time I was officially on my own.
Not even having the mental strength to unpack after having arrived, I just immediately collapsed on the new bed in the new room that would be my new home for the next two weeks. Despite my host mom giving me an incredibly motherly hug that I was secretly craving and telling me that I was home now so I should relax, I felt the opposite of relaxed. In fact, it was like the moment my legs no longer needed to support me, my heart gave out too. I found myself unable to stop the tears as they cascaded like a violent waterfall down my face.
In that moment, it had hit me just how alone I felt and just what kind of consequences (both positive and negative), my choice to intern abroad would have on me. My dad wouldn’t leave for another three days, but I knew my goodbye had already started. But when my host mom knocked on my door to see me in tears, her immediate embrace and her blunt words telling me to not cry because I did in fact have people around me, made me realize that I was safe. Safe in her home, safe in her country, and surrounded by people that would support me if I fell down.
When it came time for me to say goodbye to my dad, I went back to my host mom’s place having cried my fair share, but knowing I had people to lean back on. In addition, I had already made a close friend at my language school who I knew I could talk to and rely on, maybe even do adventures with. Over the next few days, the heaviness lifted. My host mom’s house began to feel like a home. I began to realize that in two weeks, I wouldn’t want to leave my host mom either. When her house began to feel like home and the other people there like a family to me, I realized that even when I left her home, she would be a phone call away if I needed her.
So for anyone considering studying, interning, or volunteering abroad, my advice for you is this: make connections right away. That way when you get lost or feel alone, which will happen, you have people to call and people to lean on. And that makes for an experience that you will never forget, with much less anxiety along the way. Not to mention, your experiences will have many more positive memories attached to them and will leave you with much less regret.
Posted by World Endeavors on July 10, 2019
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.