Visiting Other Obies Abroad, and a Mini-Reflection on Study Away
April 29, 2022
Meredith Warden ’23
For my spring break abroad in Edinburgh, I visited some Oberlin friends currently studying in Spain. Here are my thoughts about it, and a mini-reflection on the upcoming end of my semester abroad.
1. It’s very strange to see people you know in one context in another, entirely different context. I associate the friends I saw in Spain with being at Oberlin, and it felt surreal, especially the first few days I got there, to spend time with them in another place—let alone in another country, thousands of miles away from Ohio.
2. It felt like lots of time had passed but also that no time had passed at all. When I got to Seville (the city where my friends are studying), sleep-deprived and hungry after waking up at 3:30am and traveling for 8 hours, I met my one friend, Alia, for lunch. We hadn’t seen each other since the end of the fall semester, but slipping back into the groove of friendship felt very simple and, in some ways, made me feel like we had just seen each other a few days, not a few months, ago. I felt like this throughout my time there, which was a nice feeling.
3. Spain is a beautiful country, but I’m also glad that I chose to study abroad where I did. Throughout the week I was in Spain, I got to explore stunning historical places (a palace covered floor-to-ceiling in intricate tiles, Roman ruins preserved underneath a modern building, a fortified palace from the 1000s), see unique parts of the culture in the region of Spain where Seville is, and enjoy much warmer weather than Edinburgh’s. It was a great break, but I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I missed being in Edinburgh, which has now become familiar to me and a bit like a second home. With only a month left until I go home, I think being away from Edinburgh for a little bit made me realize that I will miss a lot about being here.
4. It is challenging to plan a trip and to travel alone! While my one friend and I traveled together during the week I was there, I flew to and from Spain on my own, figured out where I would stay while in Seville, and decided much of what I would do while in Spain all by myself. In some ways, this is freeing—you don’t have to worry as much about what other people want to do and you can go see/do the things that you personally want to see/do. But it’s also a lot of work, and something that even one or two years ago I wouldn’t have thought I could do.
5. Lastly, seeing friends from Oberlin made me even more excited for next year. It’s very odd to think that we’ll all be seniors next year, especially because my sense of time/of being in college has been skewed by the pandemic. While visiting friends did make me realize that I will miss Edinburgh more than I thought, I still think that I will be very ready to be back at Oberlin in the fall. But for now, I will enjoy the time I have left abroad!