Maria – University Carlos III De Madrid – Spain
Semester 1, 2020
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Although I knew exchange was going to be life changing for me, I didn’t know it would be life changing in such a drastic way.
Before leaving for my exchange, I had made a list of places I wanted to visit during my time abroad, as well as a mental list of some other experiences I wanted to have. I wanted to meet a lot of people from different places in the world, try new foods, maybe even learn a third language, and experience the night life of course.
As this was my first time trying to carve my way through the world alone, the first few weeks were very hard, as I’d expected. As I made new friends and learnt to navigate this new city I was living in, I finally started to loosen up and check some things off my list. I certainly experienced the night life, met people from more places than I could count on both of my hands, ate a lot of great foods and traveled to some countries I had never been to before. However, this was cut short by a very unexpected worldwide pandemic.
Soon after the outbreak in Italy, most of Madrid was also badly affected. This meant university was closed, many of my friends were being called back to their countries of origin and the whole city went into lockdown. This was undoubtedly the hardest part of my exchange. The uncertainty I felt when I first arrived could not compare to the uncertainty I felt now. I was prepared to miss my family and have to learn a brand-new way to navigate, I was prepared to have to make new friends and be financially organised to pay my bills as well as travel. But I was not prepared to have to say goodbye to my new friendships so soon or to have to flee the country practically overnight.
I still have a long list of things unchecked that I wanted to do but didn’t get time for. This has taught me to not take time for granted and always live without regrets and do the things that bring happiness, because you never know what the future holds for you.
Enjoy every little moment!!