Another long post:D Take it in sessions, if you must! (But you must..)

I've finally completed the 4 assignments for my pre-departure course seminar. The course isn't required but something I opted for. There's incentive to it, of course, I earn an extra credit or something like that. Maybe it's 0.5 credit, so why not? 

Why did I not turn in all of the 4 assignments based on the deadlines? 1) I didn't know there was a course syllabus with stringent dates listed. 2) the assignments when I looked at them, (yes, at the appropriate times) were not as intriguing as I hoped.. and, I'll be honest, required a little too much time then I was willing to offer at those designated times. Boom.

The assignments: My Country Fact Sheet (33+ ?'s), a Hopes and Fears Exercise (less demanding), Travel Planning Exercise (fictional but still annoying, for lack of a better word(; ) and lastly, a Letter to Self. Committed to having another post before the 1st of December dawns upon me, I took the Letter to Self exercise as a perfect method to express what's been going on in my head lately. I did follow the guidelines that they suggested but I more so tried to incorporate my ideas into in a way I saw fitting for my third post. Here it is! (Minus the direct references and addresses to myself.)

I don’t think of Granada anymore as my last resort in program options—but instead as my first legitimate opportunity!

In a very general sense I hope to do a lot of ‘firsts’ and new things. This seems like a very achievable/easy task seeing as I will be in a new area of the world I have never been and traveling with people I am unfamiliar with. Having said that, I want to meet many new people and establish friendships that will last a lifetime. I sincerely hope that I am placed with a family in a homestay that is a perfect fit so I can honestly say that I have a European family away from my home in American suburbia.

I’m currently working with some Bradley networks (former Study Abroad students, now EXPERTS!) that are giving me the 411 on life in Granada and I am learning more and more about the country before the new year sets in, which is extremely comforting.

I’m incredibly anxious (but words cannot truly express how I really feel) about starting this new chapter of my life. That’s how I see it; it is the next step and path of my design. The experience will be what I make it! So what do I aim to make out of it?

My main goals for the experience have not changed really since the October 1st deadline when I turned in my application to the program… Culture, Culture, Culture, Travel, fluency with the Spanish language, stay fit, and have fun! I fully expect myself to be doing more extracurricular activities rather than studying intensively as I do here in my undergraduate studies at Bradley as an International Studies and Spanish double major. As a Division-I athlete I have committed to being a tremendous STUDENT-athlete/at the highest level possible, even if this means I don’t have as much of a crazy social life as I have had in past semesters (Exhibit A: this fall semester 2011 being enrolled in my final Advanced Seminar in International Studies course where I had to complete my senior thesis, a 41+ page research paper of my design). That being said, I cannot wait to wholly embrace the Spaniard classmates and new Central College friends I will acquire.

I cannot ignore the fact that I do still have some anxieties and apprehension in my ‘planning’ periods of preparation before I actually depart:

A.     A few have already mentioned how “mad” I am to be traveling on Friday the 13th. But I am not superstitious. I have faith. I am meant to be in Spain next semester.

B.     Upon going to the Spanish Consulate General in Chicago, on October 26th, the employee told me that I would have my Student Visa back in approximately 3 weeks. It’s been 5…

C.     I’m a heavy packer, whether it’s a 2-day trip, a week-a-way trip… I see this as a ‘potential problem’ to say the least. I have already been advised to not bring too high quality of clothing/dry clean only clothing because the methods of laundry do not always account for these needs. I have already been advised not to bring too much clothing simply because I’m going to want to do some major damage there because of the extremely cheap sales in Granada. That’s obviously not a problem for me; I love to shop. But I’ve already been doing shopping for Granada.

D.     The weather. I’ve somewhat heard mixed things about weather. I really want to be a fashion icon in my skirts, dresses, and heels I’ve been purchasing lately. I’ve been reminded that Granada is neighbored by mountains…

E.      Are there going to be viable options for men and dating? Because there sure aren’t where I’m from! (Obviously this isn’t that important but it’s something I’m thinking about!)

F.      Will I be disregarded because I am American? Or accepted because I am American?

G.     When I try to engage in conversation with a Spaniard, will I receive a response in English…in May?

H.     Will I get homesick?

I.        Will I be 100% prepared come the New Year and the weeks following prior to departure? There’s so much to do… prepping for my international change with credit card companies, cell phone companies, insurance, and the works..

To just name a few…
Every day some “anxieties” pass and new ones join the ones simultaneously circulating around in my head. I challenge myself to continue to dream while I’m there. And after I’ve done some adequate dreaming, I need to Dream Bigger. The things that I haven’t had time for this semester, I want to do as much as possible in my final (& ONLY) ‘free’ semester as a NARK (again, a non-athlete regular kid)! Specifically these types of things will include but are not limited to reading, writing, travel, and photography, as well as overcome J. All of the above.

And to conclude: in this trip I will be my biggest challenger & supporter!

 


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