Now into the second week of the second part of my compulsory year abroad, it is safe to say that I am beyond convinced that my decision to work and study abroad in two different countries was the best one I could have made. Experiencing life as both a worker and a student has been a real privilege, and one I know I will never be able to have again – well, abroad, at least. I have lived outside of my comfort zone to the maximum level, but am grateful every day that I am where I am now, and decided to continue studying languages at Nottingham, even when those days came around where I was unsure if it was a good idea, or not. But after all, we are here at university to achieve our dream degree, as well as to create experiences that will stay with us forever. After meeting people who have taught me so much in countless ways, I would recommend taking a year abroad every time, and not giving into the fear of your language-learning abilities.
Being a student studying Latin American studies has its benefits. It is a course that has allowed me to go to both Spain and South America. For me, it has been Murcia in southern Spain, and now, Santiago, Chile. As a 21 year old, taking the opportunity to continue being a student and live the student life was a must, because, after all, when will we have these chances again? So far, I have only had 2 classes at my university, the UDD, both of which were taught in the same style as our lectures in Nottingham.
With the students themselves telling me I would be a genius if I understood Chilean Spanish during my first few days, I know the journey for me to feel comfortable entirely will be long, but after being in Spain, my Spanish has already improved considerably. I suppose I can also say that there is less pressure to perform as well in the exams that I will take here, as they do not count towards my degrees. Nonetheless, I will not take this as an excuse to fall back on studying, and will commit to my studies the way I do at home. Even now, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t still think about my time in La Manga, my unforgettable first time office experience, working around great people and making friends I continue to talk to today.
To sum up, I will always believe that the more experiences you put yourself through and let yourself have, the more you will learn, appreciate, and benefit from in both the short and the long run. For this reason, I would say that having two different experiences during any student’s year abroad opportunity is worth it, with only 30 weeks away to fulfil the university’s requirements, it is the perfect way to go.