How strange it is to be writing this last post from my home in Pennsylvania. The semester officially ended 3 weeks ago on May 18th, but I only just returned home yesterday evening.
Truthfully, I haven’t quite processed that our time in Oviedo has come and gone. Last night when I went to sleep in my own bed for the first time in months, I awoke in the middle of the night to check my phone and thought I was in Spain. Today when I took a jet lag-induced nap, it happened again. Although I am physically back in the United States, I know it will take some time to mentally feel here, too.
The final week in Oviedo couldn’t have been more bittersweet. Everyone tried hard to balance their time between studying for finals, packing, and cherishing final moments with friends and host families. I felt an urgency that had been growing all semester— time was running out, and I needed to make the most of it.
Many students on the program flew home a day or so after it ended, and I received incessant texts and Snapchats from friends describing how strange it was to be back. I personally would be staying a bit longer to hike some of El Camino and to visit Greece with a friend, and for me, staying a little extra was just what I needed to truly say goodbye. It’s funny how that works— some were ready for home as soon as they finished their last final, and others, like me, decided to extend our time just a bit longer.
There are many wonderful things about returning home, but some difficulties as well. The thing I am struggling with most is the realization that I just spent so much energy building a completely new life, and now it’s gone. The memories, lessons, and friendships will live on, but it’s sad to think that we will never all be in that same circumstance again. Many of my new friends go to different schools, and we all wonder when we’ll see each other again. But if one thing is comforting, it’s knowing that it’s definitely a “when” we meet again, and not an “if.”
It’s cliche to say that I’ve changed, but I know that in many ways, I have. I think in the end, it’s impossible not to grow when you do something that puts you so outside of your comfort zone. This summer, I hope to be able to process how exactly I’ve grown and to acknowledge everything that shaped me this semester.
I want to share just a bit of advice that I and some of the other Temple students came up with as our semester came to a close. Hopefully, it can be of use to anyone planning to study in Oviedo in the future!
- “Make an effort to make Spanish friends or friends who don’t speak English”- Nikki
- “Make an effort to read and watch TV in Spanish”- Max
- “Be as proactive as possible at the beginning with planning out big trips for the semester”- Dylan
- “Bring sunscreen and motion sickness medicine to Picos de Europa”- Kaitlyn
- “Check Oviedo Facebook Groups for language Tandem partners. I didn’t get a tandem until February, and I feel like I could have learned more if I found one earlier”- Joe
- “I wish I had traveled more within all the beautiful places in Asturias”- Chris
- “Don’t pack too much, I brought too many things!”- Jess
- “Pack for all seasons… Oviedo sees it all”- Jess
And a few from me…
- Go to the Erasmus student events… it’s a great way to make new friends!
- Get an Erasmus student card, because it gets you discounts on things like bus tickets, Ryan Air Flights, and more!
- Keep a journal (even though it can seem like a chore) and take lots of photos. You won’t regret it!
- Allow yourself to let go of attachments back home and truly build a life for yourself abroad. If you go all in, there’s no way you won’t have the time of your life.
Well, it looks like it’s time to sign off from the Temple Spain Blog. What an absolutely life changing time. Thanks for an amazing 5 months, Temple Spain!