Moving Abroad

I've always been attracted to the air, the mere feeling inside airports. The freedom. I don't just mean the fact you are equally as valid buying a coffee at 8 pm as you are buying a beer at 6 am. For one, the diversity inside an airport is unmatched by any one place in the world. People are coming and going from their countries and cities, passing through, never staying, yet we are all there for the same reason. As different as I am from every person on my flight, I am the same in one way: location. These were the kinds of thoughts that overtook my brain the day I flew from Portland, Oregon to Barcelona, Spain. 18 then, alone, excited, scared, and apparently in a philosophical headspace. While everyone on that flight headed towards the same location, only one eighteen-year-old girl moved across the world alone for her education. I didn't feel any sort of regret, perpetual fear, yeah. Distinctly, I understood my entire life would change completely when my flight landed. I'd had transitional life periods before, moving cities with my family for example, or the summer between middle school and high school. Nothing from my past could even attempt to compare to that flight. It was as if I'd walked out of the front door of my house only to look back and see an abyss. There was no return, only advancement. Creating a life in a new country as an eighteen-year-old with no family, friends, or support system might seem like an impossible task, an entirely undesirable one, but to me, it just screamed freedom--opportunity. No set path meant choices. For the first time in my life, I could be and do exactly what I wanted. Now, to be clear, this wasn't an overnight impulsive decision. I did put a lot of thought into my overseas move. Two months prior I'd been admitted into Geneva Business School in Barcelona. I had a Residency Visa for Spain. I'd already put a downpayment down on a room in a shared apartment in Barrio Gotic. I felt prepared, more or less. Moving Abroad proved to have its difficulties. For one, my Spanish lacked fluency. My free time was spent entirely alone, and I no longer looked at the same sky as my family and friends back home. Yet, Barcelona, as I describe it now, is just like an airport. While alone, I never felt lonely. Barcelona´s residents, being 27% foreigners, welcomed me with open arms. Walking the corridors of the city's oldest district (with buildings older than my entire country) felt like a dream. Five days after my arrival, I began my first day at the University. My school, being the private business school it is, attracts a lot of foreigners. The seats in my classes filled up with people from Sweden, Egypt, India, Brazil, and basically every country you can think of. In a class of twenty students, eighteen nationalities were present. My school held one more highly desirable trait: Every single one of us wanted companionship. We were all new to Barcelona. Before the end of the first week, I was getting coffee with classmates and planning weekend outings with a group of girls. Now, as I learn the local language, study Entrepreneurship, and live in the only place I've ever felt truly happy, I can say without a single doubt I made the right choice. Things settled, as they always do, in the exact way they were supposed to. Could I have just gone to OSU in Oregon? Yes, of course. Did I have to choose one of the most intense and difficult paths in my life? No, but I wanted to. I live with a constant feeling of FOMO. My life doesn't feel nearly long enough. I am constantly in a desire for the best, most unique experiences to fill out my life. To me, the string of memories that my life will be in the end is all that matters.

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Andre

IT Student passionate about writing

Kyiv, Ukraine