Oh If Only I Knew…

¡Qué Tal!

For the past two weeks I have been traveling around Ireland visiting different family members. It has honestly been so nice to catch up with people I have not seen in YEARS and to get to know them as a young adult. It has been very weird for me to not have ANY responsibilities (literally zero). It has been just the refresher I needed, however, and is making me more excited for my internship this summer and for senior year to start. I feel that I will be fully energized to give both of those things 100% now that I will have had a whole two months of vacation.

I am really excited for this blog because I have learned a lot during my time in Barcelona. While I would not say I have changed, I believe that this experience really showed me just who I am and what my future can hold. It reminded me of how independent and courageous I am. I really went across the Atlantic Ocean to a country that does not speak my native language, all by myself, for a whole three months. I sometimes forget how crazy that is. However, just like I figured it would, it worked out. I made of the best friends I have ever had, got to travel to new parts of the world, and really be truly free/responsible for myself. While moving to college does give everyone a new sense of independence and forcing us to learn how to be some-what reliable on ourselves, studying abroad is a completely new level of independence because you can’t just call your parents for them to figure it out or go home when you need a break.

One of the best lessons I learned while abroad is that if you want to make new friends and/or be closer with certain friends, all you have to do is ask. The first week of studying abroad is all about meeting everyone you can (from orientation, to classmates, to people living in your building). There have been moments in the past I have been really nervous to walk up to someone, introduce myself, and just strike up a conversation, but moving to a new country with no one by my side forced me to do that repeatedly. Doing that, though, gave me a lot of confidence and really showed me what type of people I want as friends. Its lovely knowing a lot of people, but it is important to understand the different types of friendships there are and acknowledging that not everyone can be your best friend and that that is okay and normal.

If I could go back in time and talk with my pre-departure self, I would tell her to take everything as it comes and to not stress trying to do everything. Social media is an amazing tool for connecting with new friends abroad, but it can also make you question how you are spending your own time. There was a point a month into my trip that I was worried that I wasn’t doing enough and not meeting enough people, but, in reality, everyone decides to spend their time abroad in different ways and there is no one right way to be abroad. If you are happy then you don’t have to change anything because in the end, I couldn’t be happier with how my experience turned out and I am so grateful for everything that came with it.

¡Hasta Luego!

Saoirse Hopp