Overcoming Struggles Abroad

Today’s blog post comes to us from University of New Hampshire student & #APIabroad alumni Megan Ross. She studied abroad with us in Seville, Spain!

Going abroad can be scary at first, especially if you’re going alone.

However, it’s an experience that makes people grow more and gain new and exciting experiences. Last semester I studied abroad with API in Seville, Spain and it was incredible. I met so many new people, learned so many new things and had continuous support from my program the entire time, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have times of struggle.

The first problem I ran into was getting my phone stolen the first night in Spain (I would highly recommend getting a purse with some sort of lock!). This was tough, especially happening within the first 24 hours of being in Spain. I found myself without any close friends and with no way to communicate with people back home.

Getting around my new city was hard without using a map on my phone!

After a week, I was able to buy a new phone. During that time without a phone, I learned how to navigate without a phone map, how to communicate with people in my program without texting them and I had a lot of help from the API center, telling me what the best way to buy a new phone was and where to go. My roommate also helped me a lot, I would have struggled a lot more than I did without her! Although this set the tone for a rough start, it made the beginning of my experience interesting because I wasn’t able to rely on my phone for things. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone and figure things out on my own.

A second setback that I went through during my time abroad was switching my housing.

I loved my host mom and roommate in my first housing situation, but I wasn’t able to feel completely at home living there. My host mom wasn’t in the house that often; I was having a hard time adjusting to the food she was cooking and overall, it wasn’t the best fit for me.

I moved into my new housing about a week into my program and It was the best decision I made all semester. I was surrounded by a lot more people, talked to my new host mom a lot more than I was able to talk to my old one and found myself a lot happier. Despite making this change, I was still able to see and stay in touch with my old roommate as well! While this was tough was going through it, and telling my previous host mom I was moving out wasn’t the easiest conversation to have, it was all for the best in the end.

My host mom, Rosa!

While abroad, it’s natural to run into challenges, but no matter what happens, everything turns out for the best in the end.

Had I not encountered those two problems during my time abroad, my experience would have been so much different than it was! No matter what may be thrown at you while abroad, what is important to understand is that things will get better and you are going to have an amazing experience no matter what!

When facing challenges abroad it is important to stay calm and decide how you want to react to them, if you want to overcome them or keep things the way they are. It can be scary to change things, but making a plan and deciding what you want to get out of your experience and what your goals are can help make this easier. Finally, don’t be afraid to make whatever choice is right for you and reach out to the API staff if you ever need support!

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