Letters From Abroad: Rebecca Agababian

Letters From Abroad: Rebecca Agababian

Rebecca Agababian ‘21, Abroad Columnist

I know nothing! And that is okay.

I am now in my final few weeks here in Málaga, Spain. When preparing to leave the United States for the first time in a state of excitement and stress that feels like years ago, I was mentally preparing for every possible situation that I could imagine. I had packed everything I could think of: I planned for my luggage to get lost and squished enough clothes into my carry-on to last me for a week. I had thought through when I was going to buy my shampoo and conditioner and bought a hand scale to make sure the airline couldn’t surprise me—pretty unnecessary, but in the moment, there was nothing anyone could do to convince me I didn’t need that little scale.

But of course, as I’ve found, you can never predict nor prepare the things that surprise you—that’s why they’re surprises. Being so immersed in the Spanish language has been one of the most rewarding aspects of this program that I looked forward to the minute I was accepted, but trying to figure out why my phone was rejecting my new SIM card at the phone store with people who only knew Spanish after an overnight flight to Spain I did not sleep on? Definitely not something I was prepared for, but it remains one of my favorite stories about the equally educational and comical situations that abroad engages you in.

And that’s kind of the point of going away. Shipping yourself to a foreign country immerses you in all types of situations that make surprises easier every day, although never less fascinating. You’re not supposed to go abroad to feel like you never left the comforts of a small campus in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. You’re supposed to feel a little uncomfortable, confused and amazed at the same or at different times—just depends on the day.