Before leaving Sevilla, I had mixed feelings about whether or not I was ready to come home after four (seemingly) short months in Spain. I missed my friends, family and American food terribly, but on the other hand, I was in love with Spain and European life in general: the easy going way of life, the ease with which I could leave my house and walk around, traveling almost every weekend, speaking/attempting to speak Spanish. I knew that I would miss these things, and I still do.
My flight from Sevilla to Madrid on my way home was sad. I was depressed to be leaving my third home, and I had been especially sad while saying goodbye to my host mother earlier that morning. I cheered up in Madrid, remembering that I would be eating Chipotle as soon as I came home. Arriving in Dulles International Airport felt so natural – I replaced my Spanish SIM card with my T-Mobile one in my phone and called my parents to let them know my plane had landed.
Re-adjusting to American life was fairly easy for me. The only area in which I struggled a little was in that I felt unable to communicate to other people properly about my experiences in Spain. My friends all asked me, “So, how was Spain?” How could I even begin to describe it to them? That was a really frustrating question to answer, and I don’t think I ever did it justice. I would describe my host family, Sevilla, my school, my trips (especially the ones to Ireland and Barcelona I made at the end of my journey), and the cultural differences I encountered, yet I’d always end up forgetting something or remembering to tell them something at the last minute. Even the blog that I kept doesn’t have all of the details of my experience. I don’t think there’s ever a way to tell others all about your study abroad experience, but I will keep trying!
Athena Tellis ’13 is double majoring in Biology and Classical Studies. On campus, she does lab research, is in the Appalachian Music Ensemble and is a Study Abroad Peer Advisor at the Reves Center. She studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain in the spring of 2011, and you read more about her experiences on her blog, Adventures in Spain.