2023-24 Natalie, outbound to Spain

Jul 27, 2023

Wow, the fact that I leave for Spain in almost a month has definitely snuck up on me, and while that’s terrifying, though I cannot be more excited for this journey. Of course I kept the soon-to-be reality of leaving for a completely different country as some wild, never gonna happen end goal. Of course now that departure creeps closer and closer and it’s getting more and more pressing and soon I’ll have to say goodbye to everyone I know and love and my entire life here in Florida, I’m exhilarated for my life with my new family.
I have taken some steps to prepare for this big exchange. For the first couple months or so after finding out we were leaving we had language camps about once a month and while it has been really stressful, it’s been really fun getting to know the other outbounds and knowing that when I land, both in Spain and back in Florida, I’ll have a support group of people who went through something similar to me but in a different country. It’s getting more and more real as time goes on and I’m extremely nervous but I’m also really excited. I can’t wait to meet my host family in person and get to see how they live on a day to day basis. I can’t believe that it’s been almost three months since we all found out the countries we were assigned to. At first I was a little upset because I had my heart and soul set on going to Germany but now I couldn’t be more excited to go to Spain. I’m really excited to see all of their customs and traditions and I can’t wait to bring them back home to share with people. On top of doing these journals I’ll be blogging my life in because I feel that if people can read but also hear and see what I’m going through, they’ll feel less scared to go on exchange. It’s one thing to read all the past students journals and see how excited, nervous, apprehensive or angry they felt on that day but it’s another to see someone sitting in a room in a different country verballing speaking to the viewers about their day, and I hope that through my weird little tik tok vlogs that new exchange students will be able to feel less stressed about the entire adventure, because exchange is a huge deal, you’re completely uprooting your life and moving to completely different plane of existence to live with people you barely know and most likely don’t even speak English is going to be terrifying, I know that when it really hit me a couple days ago I cried because this is a life altering decision that is going to completely shift everything you have ever known and is going to muddle your life.

It’s going to be a huge struggle for everyone involved but I hope that through this seemingly small and otherwise insignificant act that I can help ease the new people into this journey and help them overcome any potential fears or worries or apprehensions they might have of being overseas completely alone. Then by showing my personal journey and what it was like on a day to day basis they can see that it’s just like life back here but with some extra steps. And I am elated that I have the technology to document my experience in Spain and to have the ability to look back and see how I changed over time and hear my Spanish gets better and I’m just so super excited to see the person I’ll become when I get back from Spain.

To quote Stan Lee, a great man who has done great things; “Life is never completely without its challenges.” and he’s right, because no matter what walk of life you find yourself on, it will have its bumps and its potholes and its dead ends, but you have to push past that all and find your path and then help those around you find their path. I am so excited to see how all of my fellow outbounds will change and adapt and overcome the challenges in their country and I’m excited to see that about myself too, it’s a big moment that will shape the rest of our lives and open doors we never would have even thought of opening and I’m really happy I get to share this journey with such an amazing group of people. Next journal I’ll be writing while in Spain, which is insane to think about just how close I am to leaving. It’s going to be a huge adjustment and I’ll miss my life back here and my family, my dog, and school but I know that this is for the best. ¡Nos vemos en España!

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