My departure date, and the inevitable 14 hour or so nap, are approaching ever faster. 14 hours, 6910 miles, and I feel relatively underprepared for the reality of the year ahead.
I can only imagine it will be something like starting again – new environment, people, culture, language (all-be-it one I understand) and entirely alone in a city I don’t yet know my way around. I’m most definitely not the most map-savvy of people.
Despite my apprehension, I am fully aware that -if I allow it to be- this will be the most amazing year of my life filled with superlative experiences. I’ve been looking forward to the upcoming 12 months since before I applied to university and I am determined to get the most out of them.
What I look forward to:
- Becoming fluent – My mum once told me how she started to think in Spanish when she moved to Bilbao at my age. She said it was extremely tiring and she forgot a lot of English words, but I can’t wait for this to happen to me. Not a lot of people get to experience that.
- Learning Argentinian Spanish – The majority of Spanish teachers I’ve had over the past 8 years have been from Spain and I have therefore learned standard Spanish. Being in South America, I fully expect to encounter a variety of accents in addition to variations in language. In some of the emails I’ve been receiving, I’ve already noticed that radical changing verbs are treated as regular. I also look forward to learning Argentian slang and idioms.
- Meeting people from varying backgrounds – People from different cultures have different values. I’m intrigued to find out about people in Argentina, and other exchange students and to find out what their humour is like
- Being in BA – I’ve never been outside of the EU, so I’ll finally get a stamp on my passport! I’ll be living in the city with a family and am excited to explore such a different capital.
- The sun – Generic Brit thing to say, although somebody recently alerted me to the fact that it’s probably as cold as Edinburgh is in the winter
- Travelling – I’d like to take the opportunity to visit different places in South America, and if I have the guts (and the money) might venture over to Brazil for Tomorrowland or the Olympics
- International friends – It’s hard to imagine beforehand, but when I come back in 12 months and experience the subsequent reality check, this part of my year abroad will remain. I’ll have met different people, an Argentinian family and hopefully have such strong roots there that I’ll be able to visit anytime.
Despite the stress, I’m not Frodo off to the Grey Havens; I’ll see everybody again and have a whole other year in Edinburgh to do all the things I haven’t already got round to. I likely won’t get to study in Buenos Aires again, so even if it is a big step, I’ll treasure the experience.
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