Tag Archives: university of vigo

So long sweet summer…

 It’s been a while since I’ve written.  After my trip to the south of Spain at the beginning of the summer, my life in Spain (and in general) became such a busy whirlwind that it was impossible to sit for a little while, collect my thoughts, or edit photos.  But it was all in the best way possible – I was living in the moment, spending time with amazing people that I know will be friends for the rest of my life, and working towards my goals.  Never once did I feel homesick.  (Alright, except when my dear friend Colin told me how great Death Cab’s show was…THEN I felt homesick.)

Is it really over?  I can’t say for certain.  I can hope that I secure the internship of my dreams next summer and then no, it will be a continuation of what I have worked on this summer.  I just fear that if there is no such opportunity, that Plans B and C may not work out, and I’ll have to take any old internship for the sake of taking it.

 

After a full day of unpacking, assembling, hammering, and pretending like I know how to use a level at my new apartment in Chicago, all of this “hit” me.  It’s the end of the summer and I have no clue where it went.

 

But all of the 11am coffee breaks, aimless walks after dinner, Saltamontes, quests for about a sapling’s worth of paper to burn for San Juan, mojito-making, inside jokes about furancho employees, public transportation SNAFUs, an excursion to the Vigo Zoo, culiminating with pijama party on the eve of my departure – I will carry those memories with me always.

A Day in the Life…

What a busy week it has been!  I’ve just completed my first week of classes; it’s mentally exhausting to sit in class for 4+ hours every day, trying to absorb as much information as possible.  Most of the time, I need an afternoon nap to feel refreshed enough to tackle the assignments and review my notes.  It’s really important that I do not fall behind though – on August 19, the Cervantes Institute administers an exam for a certificate in Spanish (DELE) that is globally recognized.  If I want to study at IE in Madrid for a semester, I need to pass this exam!

 

In the midst of all of the studying, I’ve been able to go on a few small excursions in Vigo and Gondomar.  The pictures below were taken at the Count of Gondomar’s mansion.  The mansion was constructed in the 16th century; the park and surroundings have the feel of an old horror movie (especially since we visited at dusk).  It’s a shame that the buildings have not been maintained over the years; I believe that the property could make for a great museum.

Oriana knows of the best places to find churros in Vigo.

 

 

Speaking of hiking through parks, I’m convinced that walking around Galicia is better for you than a P90X workout.  All I do is walk up hills with a minimum of a 30 degree grade (or so it seems).  At least I can be one of those parents that will tell their kids, “When I was your age, I walked uphill to class, 6 kilometers under the beating hot sun…”

 

Ah yes, and I’ve been eating very well.  Jose, the father of the host family, is an outstanding cook.  We’ve made a deal that he will teach me a few of his specialties (apparently top-secret) if I do the cooking one day.  No pressure or anything!

Hasta pronto!

I am at the airport; ready to board my flight.  I’ve been a bundle of nerves the past few days, but I feel much calmer now that I’m here and on my way.

 

I’m really looking forward to this summer.  In addition to taking courses in Vigo, I plan to take trips to the south of Spain and possibly Madrid to do a bit of networking.

 

Although Spain was “neutral” during World War II (and I put neutral in quotes), it should be interesting to be in Europe for D-Day.  As a history buff, I’m always curious to see how other cultures honor important dates in history.

 

Alright, it is time to shut the laptop down and be on my way.  I’ll be posting next from Vigo and sharing my stories with you all summer long!

On Dreams, Goals, and the Year of Action

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemist

 

2011 is what I have dubbed as “The Year of Action.”  It’s become common to hear people talk about their long-term goals, their dreams, what they ultimately aspire to do or be as though it is some unattainable, unrealistic, out-of-reach end state.  I’ve grown tired of forming conditional statements: “IF I do this…”  There is no “if.”  I WILL do this.

Almost time to surrender the passport…

What am I doing exactly?  I am going to live in Spain this summer, where I will be enrolled in various business and legal Spanish courses.  I also plan to network and make contacts while I am there.  There will be plenty of opportunities for fun because I am only kilometers from the Rias Baixas wine region and the beach.  Seems easy enough – all I do is fill out a few forms online and I’m living the good life in Pontevedra, right?

 

I wish!  The planning process itself has taken a few months – securing a host family and obtaining an acceptance letter from the university.  From there, I have been taking the necessary steps to apply for a visa.  The first step was having an FBI background check performed and getting fingerprinted.  (You can read my Yelp review if you need a little comedic relief.)  Next steps will include scheduling an appointment at the Spanish Consulate, getting interviewed, and paying for all of these courses (ouch).

 

Inevitably, there are moments when excuses and doubt surface, both internally and from others discouraging me.  

 

“Dana, you’ve been so busy with work, do you really have time to do this?”  

“Dana, this is really expensive.  Are you sure this is how you want to spend your savings?  Do you really think you’ll be fluent when you come back to the States?”  

That’s all in my head, but when others say, “Dana, you’re committing career suicide.  Why would you leave your current situation for something where the magnitude of the benefits is unknown?” I feel as though I am making the wrong decision.

 

Whenever these thoughts arise, I have to ignore them and even prove them wrong.  Okay, I’ll stay up an hour later each evening if it means I need to devote more time to confirming logistics for my trip.  I won’t go out as much on the weekends or make any more Louboutin acquisitions in order to save money.  And because fluency is one of my top-priority goals, I am determined and will do everything in my power to practice once I’m back in the States.

 

When I first started the “living abroad” process, it was extremely daunting and borderline intimidating.  It’s a lot to risk.  But then I thought ahead to 30 years from now.  Inevitably, I would feel regret and be unable to live with myself for not living life to the fullest, allowing fear to paralyze me, or disregarding my dreams.

 

As Coelho also said, “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”  I am looking forward to my time in Pontevedra and am sure if nothing else, it will make for a good story or two.

 

What are you doing to pursue your dreams?  What will you be up to in 2011?  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.