Tomorrow I’m leaving for Spain! I can’t believe it’s finally here! I have a layover in NYC where I switch airports from LaGuardia to JFK, which I’m dreading, but other than that I’m really excited. I skyped with the previous aupair of my host family today for over an hour which actually took away a lot of the nerves I was feeling about many things. There’s still a lot of things I really don’t have organized at all, but I learned with traveling you can only plan so much. Planning every detail is never going to work and can actually end up being really frustrating when it doesn’t go according to plan. Lindsay and I learned that early on during our Eurotrip in Ireland with bus tickets. But if I did have 3 wishes prior to going, this would be them:
Wish 1: If there is one major thing I wish I had figured out, it would be my cell phone. AT&T wouldn’t unlock it because it is under contract until November which basically means I can’t buy an international SIM card and put it in my phone. So, I’m just going to take my iPhone and see if I can get it unlocked in Spain. If not, I’ll just buy a cheap pay as you go flip phone and use my iPhone when I have wifi.
Wish 2: I also wish the program I was teaching English through had more information. I kind of expected this going in because I read a bunch of stuff online about it being pretty disorganized, but I would like to know my teaching schedule and when/where our orientation is. I’m only supposed to be teaching 12 hours a week, but I’m teaching in a small town outside Bilbao which is about 40 minutes by bus. I’m hoping to only teach 3-4 days a week so I don’t have to make the commute as much.
Wish 3: Be fluent in Spanish. The struggle is going to be real in Spain with my sub-par Spanish speaking abilities….LOL. No hablo español muy bien….
Other than those minor (okay…major details), I feel pretty prepared! I’m ready and excited to take on this adventure! VOY A ESPAÑA!
Lately, I’ve had a huge internal struggle with if I should be doing this program. To be honest, most of my question is coming from the complete unsupportive and judgmental opinion of my parents. In the past few months, I’ve heard everything from me being selfish for doing this program to them saying they will never speak to me again if I do. While that is a hard pill to swallow, something is still telling me I have to go. Somehow, this program found me and if I don’t take this opportunity, I know I will regret it the rest of my life. It all began the day I decided I wasn’t going to apply to medical school. I remember crying on the phone to my dad, because I just was so confused. I walked into the union at my college campus, a half hour early for my student organization meeting. I decided to get on my computer and look at other post-grad options. The first thing I typed into the google search was “post grad travel options”. After spending only 30 minutes on google reading about people who got their TEFL certification and have been teaching abroad, I quickly decided that would be my next step. I began dreaming of teaching in Europe and having a life abroad after graduation. It was all I could think about….
The next day, I was at lunch with my friend and I excitedly told her that I had figured out what I wanted to do after graduation. I told her I was still looking in to ways to make it happen, but I wanted to move abroad. To my surprise, she didn’t think it was crazy and knew a friend who moved to Spain. She gave me his contact information and that is when I learned about the Auxiliar De Conversacion (North American Culture & Language Assistant Program) and the rest is history!
The tough part for me has been explaining to others that people change, dreams change and life doesn’t follow a direct path. All through college, it was about medical school. But when I finally let myself really think about post grad life, I realized there was a whole world out there, billions of people with different culture, perspectives and experiences to grow from and learn about! While I am not working an entry level job in the United States, or going to medical school, I believe I am making an educated decision in making myself a more cultured individual. Some may call it irresponsible, immature or foolish, but they can think what they want. Only the truly ignorant would not see the opportunities, self discovery and growth that this program has the potential to be.
Have you ever done something your family doesn’t approve of? Have you ever changed career paths?