Exchange in Espana-Getting There


Gwen Stoddard, Head-Online Editor

Getting there-

     Waking up at 5:45 in the morning is usually the worst thing ever because you are so deep in sleep that your body is saying “What the heck man!”. But this morning was different because I didn’t sleep, throughout the whole night because all my mind was saying was, “What the heck am I doing!”. During that night, the fact that I was leaving my home, my friends, my boyfriend, and my family for five months to travel across the ocean was only a ¼ of the way hitting me, when I hugged my brothers and parents for the last time as I went through security I was at about ½ way. When I arrived in Barcelona and was picking up my suitcase from the baggage claim it was getting close but that next day in Barcelona when my mom texted me saying “I keep wondering when your coming home from school, and then I remember where you are”, it hit me full force along with some body-wracking sobs and no mom to hug me and tell me that what I am doing is right and it’s going to be ok. At that moment with only 6 hours of sleep over the last 36 hours and my mind racing with horrible thoughts of how I might not be able to do this it hit me that I am going to be in Spain for five months learning how to live in a completely different way with a time change 8 hours ahead of anyone I know back home and taking Chemistry in Spanish. After my little break down I kept wondering to myself if this is normal and is it okay that I totally freaked out. I talked to some people on exchange and people who have done it before and they informed me that yes it is very normal and it will happen again…. great.

     Now my whole flight experience getting there was actually quite great, no delays, no missed flights, and all of my seats were comfortable for being on a plane. It wasn’t until Barcelona that something bad happened, which saying this event freaked me out is an understatement. I got off the plane, went through customs, waited for my bag (which took forever), and went to the place where Interhispania (the company that is in charge of exchanges in Spain) was supposed to meet me. Of course, they weren’t there, I told myself don’t freak out or panic because that will only make things worse so I went to the information desk and asked them if they new what Interhispania was and if they could help me find them. They said no to both. Plan B: Use my phone to call the number of the person that was supposed to be there, my phone and didn’t work which I later found out was due to the SIM card, the payphone at the airport was out of service as well. Plan C: Walk around the terminal exit praying I would see someone that could help. I did this for about half an hour, lugging my 50 lb suitcase and two very heavy carry-ons with me without any luck and my heart racing with fear as I held back tears. I finally saw a man and two girls that looked about my age walking towards me, as they reached me, the man asked if my name was “Gwendolyn” and I almost hugged him.