Adjustment & Comparison- Lauren Lappas- Granada, Spring 2017

Hello everyone! My name is Lauren Lappas and I am a Senior at the University of New Hampshire studying Spanish. In the spring of 2017, I studied abroad in Granada, Spain.

COLA: Describe your biggest pre departure challenges? Did you have any idea to what living in your host destination would be like? 

My biggest pre departure challenge was that I had a lot of anxiety about knowing I wasn’t going to be able to see my family for 5 months during my time abroad. It was also nerve racking because I had no idea what to expect in terms of my life abroad.

COLA: What has been the biggest challenge you faced abroad?

The biggest challenge I faced was not being able to communicate with people at all times (meaning if I needed to reach someone at a specific time).

COLA: Describe the adjustment process like when you arrived in your host destination?

I just dove right in. I knew I wasn’t going to be comfortable or happy if I didn’t get to know my host family and be myself.

COLA: What advise could you share with other students regarding adjusting?

Be polite but always speak your mind. They are your family — they will treat you like theirs if you do the same.

COLA: What was the biggest surprise during your abroad experience? 

I met people I never would have otherwise and made life long friends.

COLA: What was your most rewarding moment when you were abroad?

Gaining independence had to have been my most rewarding moment during my time abroad.

COLA: What changes have you/your guardians/friends seen in yourself after your study abroad experience?

After this experience, I am more open to taking different paths and opportunities the world has for me.

COLA: What were your thoughts when you were sitting on the plane to your host destination? What about the plane ride back to America?

On the way there I was so nervous I  actually cried the whole time. On the way back to America, I was so anxious I also cried the whole time.

COLA: What challenges did you face when you returned home/back to UNH if any? How did your friends and family react to stories of your experience abroad? 

Honestly hearing other people’s stories of their abroad experiences and thinking I missed out if I didn’t do something they did, etc. Everyone loved hearing my stories, I always talk about my spring break in Italy and how amazing it was.

COLA: Did you experience culture shock at all? If so, describe how you dealt with this? 

Not as much as I thought. The people in Europe just always dress up no matter the occasion, so that was different compared to life here in Durham. I also have to say it was hard eating dinner at 10pm every night.

COLA:  Did you experience homesickness abroad? If so, how do you suggest others cope with this when they study abroad in the future?

Yes, I did experience homesickness quite frequently. But, you just have to remember that you are never going to get this time back or this experience back. Enjoy it. The people, the food, the wine, the views, everything.
Thanks Lauren!
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