This blog entry was submitted by Sally Moceyunas, who studied abroad in Madrid, Spain.
“When I began my study abroad trip a few months ago, I was eager to travel anywhere and everywhere. As the semester continued, I realized I would need to choose where I really wanted to explore and prioritize those places. I decided I wanted to explore as many cities in Spain as possible in order to really get to know the country a little bit more. One thing I had learned from my classes at my host university is that Spain is more culturally diverse than I had originally thought. Each area has its own unique history, culture and sometimes language. So I did some research into which cities I wanted to explore and at the top of the list for me was Seville. I had never planned to travel alone, but the way the timing worked out in the semester none of my friends were available that weekend. It wasn’t something I had really even considered at the beginning of the semester. However, I knew that I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to travel to a city that I wanted to see. I bought my bus ticket and counted down the days.
I hopped on the bus a few weeks later wondering if it was a good idea to go completely by myself. There were some bumps along the way (my phone decided to stop working as soon as I arrived) and that became a little more stressful because I was by myself, but I asked for directions and kept going. I walked into the city and just wandered taking in all the beautiful sights around me. I decided to try a bike tour and eventually found a bike shop. It was a great way to see the city and I learned a lot too about the history of this riverside city. The following days I saw the sights, read a book in a park, people watched and ate some great food. Seville instantly became one of my favorite cities and I would’ve never gotten to see it if I hadn’t decided to travel by myself.
So, if I have any advice when studying abroad, it’s don’t be afraid to travel solo. You will get so much out of it and explore the cities and sights that you want to see. Do be more extra aware of your surroundings because you are by yourself, but have fun. Go try new foods and see the palace or the gardens that you’ve always wanted to see. You’ll be happy you took a solo trip to see and explore more of the world.”