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By Amanda Libero, University of Delaware

At this point, it’s been almost a year before I decided to go abroad, alone. I craved the experience; I wanted the independence, so I decided to go head first with no friends by my side. Many would say I’m crazy, like they have, but some of you may think a little like me. Hesitations? Absolutely. But, for those who may want the solo experience but are a little afraid, fear not.

I also decided to choose a homestay experience over an apartment. Once again, fear not; it is a great time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was terrified with my desicions and soley prayed that I wouldn’t go all the way to Spain and end up isolated and depressed. I was scared I wouldn’t have anyone to travel with on weekends or go to the bars with. You’re probably thinking…why in the heck would I choose this? Well, I’m not sure, I just wanted to try something on my own, on my terms, and figure it out myself. But this underlying loneliness was my genuine fear that strengthened the entirety of the summer until my arrival in Barcelona.

On my arrival day, I was dropped off and greeted by my host mom. I know little Spanish, but was clearly nervous to meet the family and my roomate. But, plot twist, I didn’t even have roomate. It just worked out that I was an individual homestay and despite having my own room and space, pushed myself further into isolation. However, I lifted my head up and figured I had to go to the first city walk and greet. That’s where things took a turn for the better.

Ten minutes into the walk I had already exchanged a few hellos and names, and it turns out I wasn’t the only one who came without knowing anyone. I even met a girl who was also a single in homestay and we are now close friends and a great travel buddy. In addition, I met a few other girls that all lived in the apartments together, and I found outa few of the went to my home university! We quickly became friends and formed a group that we now travel with.

So in the end, I got the best of both worlds by getting my own big room with a homestay experience (and great food) while having friends to hang out and travel with all while getting the solo and newfound independence I wanted. I had stressed myself out for nothing. And now looking back, it was pretty silly of me to think I wouldn’t make friends. The sum up I give a little piece of advice, throw yourself into something new, alone, it a wild journey and experience and you won’t regret it.

Amanda Libero

Amanda is from University of Delaware, and studied abroad at UAB during Fall 2018.

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