I spent three weeks in Spain this past summer, and I have to say, they were some of the best of my life. 

Back in January, I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a post from the College of Journalism regarding a study abroad deadline due the next day. On a whim, I applied that night before even talking to my parents or anyone. 

The next day, I got an email saying I was accepted into the summer program. I was excited that I had gotten accepted, but finally realized that I had applied not knowing anything about studying abroad or who was part of the program.

I had always wanted to study abroad, but I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to be overseas. Being a little bit of a homebody, I knew for sure that I didn’t want to go away for a whole semester and miss out on things such as game days, being with my friends or visiting my family. 

After a few calls with my parents — who were confused but supportive — I decided to take part in the summer abroad in Spain. 

This specific one was a three-week program in Barcelona and Madrid that centered around sports media and communications. Three weeks was a perfect amount of time because I didn’t miss things that would happen during the school year, and I also had time to be home for the summer.

I am typically a planner. I like to know every aspect of what I am doing and have things planned out, so not knowing about the program was something out of my comfort zone. I was excited to go to Spain and earn some credits for doing so, but I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, after returning from Spain, I’ve learned firsthand there are many benefits to studying abroad. 

If given the opportunity, students absolutely should go to another country to study. 

UNL offers a wide variety of study abroad opportunities that are all shown in MY WORLD. The university has options for a multitude of countries and programs, with and without faculty members attending alongside you. It also allows you to pick a term, which is a helpful tool when deciding the period of time you want to attend. The university can even work with you to figure out scholarships to help you financially if you are interested in attending. 

After spending some time abroad with the university, there were some things I wished I had known beforehand to ease my nerves. 

One aspect of studying abroad that made me nervous was not knowing anyone, but because I went with a group from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I was able to meet the people also going on the trip a few times before we departed. It can always be nerve-wracking to meet and talk to new people, especially in a foreign place, but because we all shared the connection of going to UNL, it was easy to find things to talk about. 

Along with attending the same school, this specific program was with the College of Journalism, and 11 out of 12 students were part of the college. This made it easy for us to find common ground since we shared similar interests, but it also allowed us to learn from each other. 

Getting to experience another country is a fantastic experience in itself, but getting to share it with your peers is another level.

When we were in sessions, my peers and I were given the opportunity to explore the cities of Barcelona and Madrid. We got to go to the beach, go shopping and try the cuisine in local restaurants; a few of us even found a go-karting location, which was particularly fun since Formula One was in town at the same time. 

As a group, we also got to go sightseeing, where we visited La Sagrada Familia, attended a soccer game at Camp Nou and visited the Reina Sofia museum and the Prado. When we weren’t sightseeing and learning about tapas, we were hearing from speakers in advertising, magazine writing, sports media journalism and much more. 

Getting to attend such programs can sometimes influence your educational path, and for me, this one truly did. While on this trip, I decided to add the advertising and public relations major to my degree. I chose to do this after learning more about the advertising world through the first-hand experience of seeing what professional advertisers do. 

I had known that I wanted to study abroad before attending college, but I was never sure if I could do it. However, after jumping into my program on a whim, I wish I could go abroad again. 

Getting the chance to experience and learn in a new environment is beneficial as a student and as an individual. If you already know you want to study abroad or are simply curious, you should stop by the Education Abroad office or go to their website and learn more. 

Alexis Goeman is a sophomore journalism and ADPR major. Reach her at alexisgoeman@dailynebraksan.com.