Pre-departure Thoughts

Before we get started, I wanted to introduce myself real quick! My name is Mariella Stine and I am a sophomore. I am from Atlanta, GA and I am double majoring in Spanish and Studio Art, with a minor in Creative Writing. This semester, I will be studying abroad in Granada, Spain from January through May through IES. 

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’ve always loved to travel. There’s just something so special about going somewhere you’ve never been, seeing things you’ve never seen, and experiencing an entirely different culture than your own. That being said, I’ve never traveled alone before. I’ve always had my family to fall back on when things get difficult or problems arise that I don’t necessarily see a clear solution to. Then, add in another language entirely and things get just a little bit more complicated. While I have been studying Spanish since sixth grade, going to Spain, where I know I will be fully surrounded by the language, unable to fall back on my English, is definitely nerve-wracking, especially when I am participating in a program where I know no one. But ultimately, one of the reasons why I am able to be here, sitting in the airport waiting for my first of many flights, is because of the support I’ve had along the way from both the staff at IES Granada and Wofford’s International Programs Office. Being able to ask all of my questions and schedule as many appointments as I needed to answer those questions and work through any concerns was extremely helpful and reduced my stress greatly throughout the whole process. Resources like Orientation with IES and the Study Abroad Alumni Dinner put me in direct contact with students who have participated in the same program as me. Hearing all about their incredible experiences while abroad made me feel more excited than anything. Even hearing about the not-so-incredible experiences was reassuring, knowing that I would be able to get through those if they arise because someone else before me has too. 

It’s all of these experiences that I will inevitably have that I am most looking forward to while abroad. I want to grow as a person and push myself outside of my comfort zone. I want to be more independent and confident. And of course, I want to make the most of each and every opportunity I have. Wish me luck!