I’ve been home for over two months now and my number 1 most asked question is ‘how was Mexico?’ so I think it’s about time I talk about it.
Choosing to study abroad in Mexico was easily, with a shadow of a doubt the BEST decision I could have made.
Yes, it does mean that I will finish my degree a year later than most of my friends, but honestly, that is such a small price to pay for being able to experience a year in another country, on the other side of the world by myself at 20/21 years old.
The simple answer: I fell in love with Mexico
People always say ‘you’ll never forget your year abroad’ or ‘it was the best year of my university experience’ and my response was yeaah yeaah that’s what they ALL say.
But here I am, sat at home a month after leaving Mexico and I can boldly say that they were right.
Picture this: a country filled with mountains, jungles, waterfalls, beaches, deserts, beautiful towns and cities.
That country is Mexico.
Maybe it was the friendliness of the people or the deep and complex history (that began waaay before Spanish colonisation and before the Mayans and Aztecs) or the delicious food that will have me craving tamales de maíz and mole negro con pollo for the rest of my life, or maybe a combination of all three, that made me fall in love with Mexico. But I fell hard.
Okay Vimbai, but what was so great about it?
I think the best part about being abroad was learning that the best things come at the other side of fear.
Let me put it this way. I was in a country, where they speak a language that is not my native tongue by myself. I was scared and I had no choice but to improve my Spanish to get by and adapt to the new location around me. That meant asking many silly questions, getting lost frequently, asking for help and allowing people to help me.
That also meant wearing ripped mom jeans in 30 degree heat to become accustomed to the climate, learning that I will never love anyone the same way I love air conditioning in Monterrey in August and that nothing is as scary as you first thought it would be.
I think the best thing I gained whilst being away is confidence. Confidence in myself and my abilities. Guys, I can speak Spanish. Which I know you’re probably thinking ‘we knooow Vimbai’. But I’ve doubted that ability for years now. But spending a year in Mexico really solidified that ability for me y si tu quieres hablar conmigo en español, digame 😉
However, above all the thing I am most proud of is my newly found confidence in my ability to adult. I’m only 21 B U T I passed all my exams, solo travelled, didn’t starve, paid all my bills on time and survived on the other side of the planet without a parent in sight, suuurely that means something positive.
The best of friends
I am so grateful for all the incredible friends I made. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without all the people who collectively kept me safe AND tried to kill me (yes Jana, I am looking at you for the wonderful chicken soup and those ‘hot springs’ in Chihuahua haha!).
Put a bunch of uni students in a foreign country, who equally have no idea what’s going on and you will create the best of friends who will try to teach you the lyrics to the Mulan soundtrack in Spanish, take you to hospital when you think your stomach is going to explode, feed you waaay too many tacos when you’re meant to be ‘saving money’ (haha) and always make sure you get home safely.
Since being home
It’s funny because since I’ve been home so many people have been saying how ‘amazing’ it is and how ‘brave’ I am to have gone to Mexico. But I just shrug my shoulders because it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me anymore. Not in a snobby way, but I just got so comfortable with being there that it just felt like I was in my second home.
Saying goodbye was tough, but this was the hardest goodbye I’ve said in a while. Funny how in 12 hours you can wave a whole continent and a year of your life goodbye. But it wasn’t a sad goodbye, but one full of joy, courage and enthusiasm for the future.
If you’re reading this and you’re considering going on a year abroad I thoroughly recommend it. Throw fear to the side and take that leap of faith. You never know where you’ll end up.
Have you studied abroad? Let me know about your experience in the comments.
Abrazos y besos