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Dear Future Eve: A Letter to Myself before I Study Abroad

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Like most people afforded the opportunity, I have some goals I’d like to achieve when studying abroad, other than academic ones. I’d like to write this article as a letter to myself before living in Madrid, Spain for four months as a reminder of the personal goals I set before leaving.  

Dear Eve,

First and foremost, your dog will not forget who you are while you’re away. I know that’s like, your main concern (forget your friends and family, right?) but Garbanzo will be very excited to see you when you get back so please do not spend too much time worrying about him. 

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s some more important advice to keep in mind amidst your travels. 

Don’t be afraid to say yes (and no)! Obviously do not agree to something if you have a poor gut feeling about it. But I need you to be open to trying new things with new people, even if you are afraid of awkward silence. I think being able to experience a new country with new people is a unique opportunity that you should be jumping upon. Do not just stick to who you already know.

Your Spanish is great! Please use it. You are literally forcing yourself to move to Spain to learn the language. But you are not going to learn if you don’t try! I know you are scared of speaking, messing up words, or forgetting your vocabulary. But you will never see that waitress, or that Uber driver, or most of the people you interact with again, so who cares if you don’t sound perfect? You don’t laugh in someone’s face when they don’t speak perfect English, so why would anybody do that to you? It’s okay to make those mistakes. You won’t get better if you don’t try to speak! 

I know you hate waking up early. But every hour you spend sleeping in is an hour wasted. Scrolling through TikTok can definitely wait. Get up and go for a walk, meet someone for coffee, or make breakfast. Just please get up. 

Life will go on for the rest of the people in your world too, and that’s okay. Your friends are not going to forget about you, I promise. I know you’ll be upset about missing the milestones they’ll achieve in their lives too, so call them and tell them you love them often. But remember they’re not going anywhere. 

LEARN TO BUDGET. I know you’re familiar with that already, but trust me you will have a miserable last few weeks if you don’t plan accordingly. Have fun, but be responsible. Spend the extra time doing research for those discounts and deals. Sleep on the floor if you have to. Walk a few miles, I’m sure you’ll be ok. It will be worth it in the end, I promise. 

Your host family is not going to hate you. I don’t know why you have an irrational fear of this, but they literally signed up to house you. They are not Nanny McPhee. Spend the extra time getting to know them. I’m sure they are excited to get to know you. Maybe they will teach you how to cook, or how to dance. Please enjoy your time with them while you can!

I know it may be hard sometimes, but don’t let the bad moments ruin all the great ones. Explore, step outside your comfort zone, and be open to new people, places and things. You’re going to be just fine.



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Eve Lescovitz

U Mass Amherst

Eve is a junior Political Science and Spanish major at UMass Amherst. Her favorite things are Harry Styles, sweet treats, and her puppy, Garbanzo. When she's not in class catch her napping, hanging out with friends, or listening to music way too loudly.