I've always been the kind of person to get a crazy idea in my head and not let go of it. When I was in middle school, the thought of studying abroad in Spain blossomed (I might have met someone who did it, on one of those career days and wanted to be just like them) and it became one of my lifelong dreams! My parents have always been so supportive and encouraging when it comes to pursing my aspirations, so when I got to college and mentioned that I still wanted to go to Spain, they had no doubt in their minds that I would find my way there and supported the whole idea.
The end of my sophomore year came along and I started looking into study abroad programs for the following spring semester. I spent countless hours researching programs and scheduling meetings with "study abroad advisors" - or so they call themselves - but unfortunately came to a dead end. The person I met with at the time wasn't helpful and only handed me a booklet with very broad information and expected me to figure it all out on my own. When I looked into the various programs offered in Spain none of them were related to my major and the massive numbers next to the dollar signs were discouraging. At this point I thought it was over and was convinced that I would not be able to spend a semester in Spain.
I went about my Junior year of college just fine until it came time to register for the fall semester of my senior year... The courses I needed to take in order to graduate were not being offered until the next semester and my graduation date was in danger of being pushed back. I refused to graduate late because of something that was out of my control and was convinced that there was something I could do to fix the situation. Studying abroad came back to mind but this time I was determined to make it happen! I did my own research again, talked to other people I knew had gone abroad and asked them for advice, and met with an advisor who was very helpful. Things started looking up and I was thrilled to find a program that offered the courses I needed in order to graduate.
My only problem now was the financial situation (this princess wasn't born with $$$). Many things in life are free but studying across the globe definitely isn't on that list. Of course being as ambitious as I am, I wasn't going to let that be an issue. I met with a financial aid advisor almost every week and was able to figure it all out. As for spending money and unlisted expenses such as my plane ticket, I was fortunate to receive donations from friends and family members and work really hard to save money on my own.
During the summer prior to taking off for my adventure I landed a paid internship with a Triple-A minor league baseball team in my hometown. I was working crazy hours and it sucked not having much of a social life, but all good things take sacrifice and I knew that if I wanted to study abroad I had no other choice but to work, work, work. And so, after years of dreaming about studying abroad in Spain, numerous setbacks, endless paperwork, and a pretty penny, I was accepted to the International Studies Abroad Fall program of 2014 in Barcelona, España!
I'd have to say that my study abroad adventure was one of the best experiences of my life and I'm so happy that I was able to fulfill this dream. If there's something I'd like for you to take away from my story, it is that you have the power to do anything you wish to do, especially when it comes to traveling or studying abroad. Even if all the odds are against you, even if you think you don't have the money to follow through with your dreams, well think again because there is always a way. Seriously, trust me when I say this, because if there isn't a way then you can find a way! Don't let your dreams die when you wake up in the morning, put them into action and travel the world! What you'll discover will be priceless and what you'll take away will last forever.