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Packed: You Sure You Didn’t Leave Anything Behind?

My room is a mess. My clothes are sprawled out across every surface, luggage laying open and half full on the floor, and I’m pretty sure my toothbrush is laying on my nightstand… wait, did I pack my toothbrush already? Yeah, I should probably get that back out; I’m not leaving for four more days, and brushing my teeth this week is definitely in my best interest.

Am I going crazy? Maybe. I can tell you one thing for certain: I don’t want to leave anything behind. I’ve made checklists on top of checklists to make sure I don’t forget anything, but I can still guarantee you I am going to leave a few things behind; not necessarily because I forget them but because I’m leaving. In a few days, I am leaving my home, and I’m not coming back… for six weeks. Wow. That just hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m going to be gone for 42 days, and I’m leaving a lot behind: my family, my friends, and life as I know it. I wish I could shove them all into my suitcase and take them with me, but I just can’t. It’s going to be really hard leaving all the comforts of home behind, but that’s what adventure is all about right? Getting out of your comfort zone?

I didn’t sign up to go to Argentina because I wanted to experience the same things I do back home. I’m traveling halfway across the world! I want to be a part of something completely new. I want to see the vibrant landscapes, smell the crisp ocean breeze, taste the exquisite food, hear the hustle and bustle of the city, and feel beneath my feet ground I have not yet tread on.

Studying abroad is all about getting out there and being a part of something new. It’s not about what you’re bringing with you, or even what you left behind (No, forgetting that extra pair of socks is not going to make or break your study abroad experience). Studying abroad is a time to embrace uncertainty and seek out the unknown.

So, go on and forget, I tell myself! Whatever it is, you don’t need it where you’re going. Ditch that checklist and zip up your suitcase because it’s time to go. Tell your family you love them and your friends goodbye; It’s time to see the world.

(Below: pictures of me saying goodbye to my family)


Sam Nelson is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Economics with a minor in Spanish. Sam will study abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina during Summer of 2018 with hopes of improving his Spanish language skills. He is a member of Pride Alliance and several other student organizations. After Sam completes his degree at UMKC, he plans to attend graduate school and earn his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

My First Week in Spain

During the first week of my study abroad trip in Spain we traveled! This was an amazing way to get to see so much of the country that I wouldn´t have been able to see otherwise.

On the first day, we flew into Madrid and landed in the morning. This was such an overwhelming feeling, getting off the plane into a giant airport where everything is in Spanish. Once we got to the hotel, we met our new friends and visited an art museum called El Prado. For dinner we ate at a restaurant that was in a supermarket. In the first two floors it was a supermarket with different shops for each type of food. As you got higher up there became actual restuarants. The food was AMAZING!

The next day, Tuesday, we traveled to Segovia. Segovia was my favorite city because it is very old and has a lot of history. In Segovia, we saw the Roman aqueduct where the Romans brought water from the mountains to the city. Also in Segovia, we saw the Real Alcazar, which was a castle by the royal families. The Real Alcazar had a moat for protection.

Also on Tuesday, we traveled to La Granja for lunch and see the gardens at the Royal Palace. The gardens were absolutely breathtaking and the fountains were gigantic!

On Thursday, the group can on a tour of Seville and we saw all the consulates of other countries like the United States, Mexico and Argentina. In the end, the guide showed us the Spanish consulate. The consolidate of Spain was very beautiful and there  were benches decorated by each province in Spain.


Emma Cleaveland is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Communications. Emma is spending the summer term abroad on the faculty-led UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Adventure Awaits

Hello all! My name is Megan Schwindler and I’ll be studying abroad in Granada, Spain this summer.  I leave tomorrow morning and have been spending the past two days doing some last minute shopping and packing for the trip.

My (kind of) organized suitcase

My suitcase is pretty organized for someone as messy as myself, but I’m still worried I forgot something! I just got back from a week-long vacation in Florida two days ago so this weekend has been quite chaotic. Essentially, I just dumped all the clothes I took to Florida into the washing machine and threw carefully packed them into my suitcase. All in all, it wasn’t too terrible but two days didn’t feel like enough time.

This was taken on my last day in Florida

My toughest decision was what books I wanted to bring (I’m a nerd, I know). I decided that four books would be the limit. I’m currently reading the last book of Game of Thrones so of course I’ll be bringing that. And then I decided I ought to bring milk and honey by Rupi Kaur because well, it’s amazing. I’m also bringing the first Lord of the Rings because I’ve never read it or watched the movie (I know, I’m so weird) but I heard it’s somewhat adventurous and I’m hoping it will motivate me to explore.  And finally, I’m bringing Women Who Run with the Wolves. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend doing so. It was the book that motivated me to study abroad in the first place!

An excerpt from “Women Who Run with the Wolves”

As far as packing tips go, I would say to pack what you’ll wear. I constantly go on trips and pack cute dresses or wedges that I think I’ll wear but usually don’t even make it out of the suitcase. Birks are an essential item in my suitcase, I wear them with leggings, cute dresses, and even to the beach. I’m also bringing a pair of tennis shoes and a cheap pair of sandals just in case! A lot of my friends and family have asked if I’m nervous or freaking out yet. Surprisingly, I’m not. For me, this is the easy part. I enjoy the packing, planning, organizing, and shopping that a trip as long as this one entails. But once I step off that 14-hour flight in Madrid, I’m probably going to freak out. But who knows?

That’s all I have for now, follow my adventure on wordpress and instagram. And to everyone who is studying abroad this summer, good luck!


Megan Schwindler is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying English Literature and Spanish. Megan is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Ir a Granada: Before the Flight Frights

This book has been my focus as my flight anxiety has become prevalent in my travels.

Spain will be my home for six weeks while I attend classes in Granada and tour the country for almost two weeks. What was once just a minuscule possibility in Spanish 221 has become an amazing experience that I will begin in just a few days. The only thing from stopping me now is my flight anxiety. 

I have traveled before: in high school, I crossed the U.S. via plane to Hawaii, where we were invited to march in a Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The first flight, about an hour or so, went well enough, but as soon as the second flight came around, my confidence began to deteriorate and the anxiety overwhelmingly took over my fight or flight responses. But on a plane, there is nowhere to go.

Since that particular flight, I have grown in excitement for the landing in Madrid and cringe at the sight of my plane ticket. My carry-on and personal bag are full of distractions: an iPod for music, my textbook for classes, an amazing journal made just for travelers going to Spain, my boyfriend’s hoodie, practice worksheets to brush up on my Español, and multiple other trinkets to keep me calm when all medicine fails.Ironically, packing has only exasperated this fear of mine, because as soon as all of my bags are packed, the sooner I will be boarding the plane that has recently haunted me into anxiety-dwelling research.

If I am so scared to travel to Spain via aircraft, why I am still continuing this journey?

The concept of studying abroad sparked joy in my mind and my heart. Studying a language that one I that would like to become fluent in is not something that will happen overnight, and probably not in six weeks, either. But it is what I want to do, even if I must travel across the globe on a plane, I have everything I might possibly need to get on that plane, and I will not let my anxiety stop me.


Grace Englehart is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Creative Writing and Spanish. Grace is spending the summer term abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

 Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.