By Angela Arguson
I’ve heard this said several times in the short month I’ve been in Spain, whether it be from my professors or host family. I have added it to my list of handy Spanish phrases, (right under “vale” which is the equivalent of “ok”), and even hear it come up in conversation among us TCNJ students. Telling someone “tranquila” translates to saying, “be calm”, “don’t worry”, or “relax”, and this is definitely something that I have to keep in mind while getting accustomed to Spanish life.
Taking the leap to study in another country has both ups and downs. It is new and exciting, but also stressful and difficult at some times. However, if you asked a former study abroad student about their travels, there is a 99% chance that you will hear nothing but amazing things and how much they miss and want to return to their host country. You can go ahead and imagine a picture perfect study abroad experience, but it might not always be smooth sailing. That’s just the reality of it all.
I have been hit with waves of homesickness at random moments. I’ve walked twenty minutes in the rain with a broken umbrella, and managed to get caught in two mishaps while booking flights and accommodations for trips. Customer service calls are scary to begin with, but dealing with them in another language brings it to a whole new level. In situations like these, it’s so easy to feel panicked or helpless.
Everyone deals with the transition differently. I can honestly say that I have felt out of place, confused and frustrated many times since I’ve been here, but these feelings are inevitable when stepping out of your comfort zone. I’m sure I’ll encounter more of these situations in the future, but it’s all a part of the learning experience.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am having so much fun and am enjoying myself. I have no regrets in making the decision to come to Spain. The positives will always outweigh the negatives, but in order to appreciate this opportunity it is important to reflect on both.
I remind myself that many other study abroad students have been in my position, and have all lived to tell the tales of their adventures. I can’t let myself get worked up over little things or spend all my time worrying. So whether you’re studying abroad or not and you find yourself stuck in a rut, just remember that it will all work out in the end. “¡Tranquila!”.