Dear January Self…

Expect the unexpected. Yes, you may have been more than prepared regarding what you packed. But emotionally, you are not ready. And that’s okay! It’s going to be stressful… your laptop might explode, you might get lost in Barcelona at 3am, you might get food poisoning from all-you-can-eat sushi, and you will get homesick.

These experiences, however, will lead you to your new best friends and newfound wisdom. I know you have always been an extrovert and love meeting new people, keep that energy here! Everybody studying abroad wants to meet new people and make friends. So jump at every opportunity!

I know you are going to try capturing every moment of studying abroad on your phone… and you should do just that. Cherish it! Get selfies with every new person you meet because you’ll want to remember them and you honestly won’t know if you’ll ever run into them again.

I know you are planning to do daily vlogs on TikTok… make sure you keep up with it! It is going to unlock so many opportunities for you and you will meet some great people from it.

You’re only 19 years old, but you mature so much on this trip, I can’t even put into words how much wisdom you gain from each person you talk to and each place you travel to. You learn so much more about self-respect and confidence.

My last piece of advice is to explore new places every night! Don’t go to the same cafe more than once. Make it a goal to see something new each day you are here.

Finally, I am so proud of you. And also… you should hug your parents extra tight before you leave. You’ll miss them here way more than you ever missed them when you were in Oakland.