Last week, New Haven’s temperatures reached so high that the chairs on Beineke burned my legs as I sat beside sun-soaking Yalies. We all know what that means. It’s been on its way for some time— the LinkedIn summer posts piling up and the long white linen skirts adorning cross campus. It’s almost summer. 

Coming from the Northeast — more Northern than New Haven, that is — the first streaks of summer present a chance to wear your lightest layers and start making your bucket lists. Summer is to be maximized.  

Since I turn 20 in the fall, this summer is feeling as though it is particularly significant for me. It is my last summer of teenagehood, and I am making the most of that fact. On Yale’s dime, I am away for a large part of the summer in the beautiful city of Seville, Spain. 

This place holds significance not only in its rich Flamenco history and former Roman roots, but as a familial space for my mother and me. Nearly 30 years ago, she studied in Seville, living with a host family and advancing her Spanish fluency, of which she attempted to pass on years later in my childhood. I can see this influence everywhere, in my little sister’s middle name, in stories recounted of her time and in my mom’s reunification 30 years later with her partner from Spain whom she now is dating again. Seriously, it’s a lifetime movie worthy story, but I’ll let her tell it. 

I initially took Spanish classes rather passively through my primary education, fulfilling requirements and talking with my friends anytime pair work was offered. College poses a different setting — after the internet crashed during my placement test the summer after senior year, I have worked my way up to L5 before I ship off to blistering Seville for four weeks. I’ve grown to love the language and the breadth of the cultures it is communicated in, acknowledging the rich and diverse manners in which it is spoken. 

In my suitcase I will take my essentials: my passport, computer, the same pair of flip flops I have had since freshman year of highschool, a bottle of nail polish, the Levis I thrifted last year,and my mom. Literally. She will be visiting while I am there.

I’m not sure exactly what to expect. I’ve heard my stories from my peers and my mother, but to live in a foreign country and be so far from my everyday life still scares me, yet mostly excites me. I’m expecting a shock, even after researching the country more and cramming to study even the most basic grammar conjugations. Don’t take a semester off your language just to start it again. You will forget everything. 

It’s a privilege to study abroad and something I went into college saying I would do by any means necessary. I’m so happy it has, so far, aligned thus far and that in just a few short weeks, I will be hitting the outside of the plane door as I walk on for good luck. I have not booked my tickets yet, which could very well mean these could be my parting words as I embark on a 56 hour Spirit Airlines flight of which you never hear from me again. It’s a gamble for sure. 

I hope I will come back even more appreciative and understanding of the world, a wider Spanish lexicon, and a bit more tan. Only time will tell.