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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Rodney in Spain

Rodney Bethea ’20 is a communication and Spanish double major who is studying in Seville, Spain.

I’m Rodney Bethea and I am currently in my second semester of my junior year studying abroad in Seville, Spain. I am majoring in Communication and Spanish as well as minoring in Sociology/Anthropology. I have been in Spain for almost two months now and it has been the most amazing and challenging thing I have ever done in my life. For starters, I have only been outside of the country twice before just for vacation. The actual thought of transitioning into a new living space in a completely new country both terrified and excited me. And let me tell you, it isn’t easy transitioning. For the first couple of days, my whole body was sore from jet lag and I had no idea how to get around the city (mostly because the street signs are on the side of buildings which took me a while to figure out). In general, the first two weeks were a bit rough, especially because I am in a country where English isn’t the native language. I have been studying Spanish since I was in fourth grade and coming into Spain, I was so confident that I was going to be “fluent” by the second week of the program. Again, I was rudely mistaken. Although it is frustrating to get in situations where the language barrier is a huge problem, those situations have been my biggest learning experiences. Overall, the biggest thing I have learned here is to just “be”. I know that sounds like a corny and cliché Instagram description but honestly, it is very easy to get so caught up in your own head with adjusting to classes, learning a new language, trying to make friends and keeping up with connections back at home. It is so important to just sit somewhere nice, put the phone down and take everything in. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and nothing should get in the way of forgetting that. I will be sure to take the time to slow down and really be appreciative of the situation that I am in thanks to so many donors who contributed to my scholarship award. I am very grateful for everything that everyone has done to get me where I am now.