Things I heard before I came to Salamanca:
- 3 months is not enough time to study abroad, yet anything after 6 months gets difficult.
- Anyone who has heard of Salamanca—only 5 or so people–before told me it was the most amazing city they have ever been to.
- College town
- Beautiful plaza
- Delicious food
- Do not say no to anything, given that the question or invitation was rational and safe.
- Make local friends and immerse yourself in the culture
- You’ll miss home, but take solace in the fact that home misses you more.
- There’s something magical about people around age 20, you’ll see that everyone you meet abroad that’s travelling will have more or less the same attitude as you.
- Go enjoy yourself, party, meet new people, explore the world, oh and learn something too while you’re at it.
- 99% of the book that my dad wrote me before I left.
Before I came here most of these words of wisdom, did not make any sense. I politely smiled and nodded along as people gave me their spiel above what to expect or how to behave. However, it did not take long at all before I realized that although my experience is unique, as is everyone else’s, there are all encompassing recommendations that can apply to everyone much like the ones that have resonated with my that I expressed above. Here is what I have learned and what I advise after going on this trip. This is an addition to the quotes above, not instead of:
- If you are even slightly considering studying abroad, do it.
- Do what you want to do not what you think other people want you to do
- Keep in touch with everyone from home, but do not let it interfere with events abroad. The people who matter will not raise an eyebrow if you do not talk to them for a couple of days.
- Get off Facebook
- Never pass on an opportunity because you are too tired or lazy, it’s a horrible excuse that you will regret
- You always regret what you could have done but did not.
- Travel light, its okay to wear a shirt 3-4 times before you wash it, and yes this is Osmo talking 🙂
- Do not rush from place to place just to be able to say you’ve been there, it is MUCH more enjoyable to experience one place to the fullest.
- Do not take taxis, you will miss out on the aesthetics.
- Write a blog, or a journal, its easy to blur events together and forget the importance of each individual one.
- Take pictures, but not 2394893 of them, its more powerful to just stand and take in the scenery rather than watch it through a lens.
- Pictures will rarely do justice to the scene itself, they are a mere reminder of where you were in order to evoke the emotion you felt at the time of the picture.
- Nothing should be difficult, just have fun.
I’m not saying goodbye yet and I’m leaving this blog open ended just in case I remember any more words of advice. I’m not saying bye mostly because I am not ready but also because I still have a month and a half of travelling to do. This is only goodbye to the academic requirement blogs but say hello to the free will blogs.
P.S. my brother just left and as much as I am excited to see England, Scotland, Italy, Paris, and Israel, I cannot help but also be excited to go home. This is not to say that I am not enjoying myself, this is just a hint of homesickness kicking in.