A flat tire, a busted thumb, AND an almost missed flight.

August 28, 2019: Departure from Boston, MA.

If you look closely, you can slowly see the blood soaking through the bandage 🙂

I think the title pretty much sums up my last day in good ol’ Massachusetts. I arrived at the airport. My mom was sobbing (she’s emotional and dramatic like I am), my dad was tearing up (which he NEVER does), and my sister said goodbye as if I was only leaving for the weekend. I held onto my parents for as long as I could and expressed how much I loved them. Letting me go wasn’t easy for them. They had created this bubble to keep me safe for the last 20 years, that I wouldn’t be able to take with me. As I got in line to go through security, I took one last look at them; and it hit me. I was doing this on my own. I was popping that bubble that I had lived in my entire life. Every possible fear ran through my head. Would I be safe by myself? Would I be able to adapt? What if I didn’t make friends? I didn’t know if I’d be okay. Leaving was just as tough for me as it was for my parents, if not worse.

7 hours later, I arrived in Madrid. I went through Spanish customs, retrieved my suitcase, and made my way towards the arrival gate. There, I watched as families held up welcome home signs and greeted their loved ones. I missed home already.

I found a cafe in the airport and sat down. I cried for 15 minutes. I quickly face timed my best friend Laura and she put me at ease. I waited for an hour and then made my way towards the pick-up location. There, I met almost everyone from my program. As I began to introduce myself, I noticed that every single person there (to a certain extent) felt the same as I. It wasn’t until that moment, that I realized that I’d be okay.

Maybe even better than okay.


Follow this fall 2019’s Office of Study Abroad & International Experiences Global Correspondent, Kelsey Gonzalez, on her international studies and internship experiences in Valencia, Spain! Kelsey is a UMass Lowell Public Health major, studying this fall on a UMass Lowell Partner-led Program, ISA Study Abroad Health and Natural Sciences at the Universidad Católica de Valencia.

Kelsey Gonzalez-holding a shawl while standing in the desert of Jordan
Kelsey Gonzalez-standing atop a bell tower overlooking a city in Italy
Kelsey Gonzalez-sitting on a brick wall in front of multi-colored homes built into the side of a mountain

You can also read blogs from current and previous trips to Spain listed below or from other destinations across the globe UMass Lowell students travel to.

Current & Previous Study Abroad Trips to Spain Blogs: