One Month Before Departure: Planning and Packing for a Year Abroad


In exactly a month I'm leaving for my year abroad and while my first instinct is to completely freak out, I'm trying to combat that with being very organized.

I know that it sounds hard to pack for a whole year, but it's actually really easy. Normally, the hard part about packing is insuring you don't forget things. It has been surprisingly easy because everything has to go somewhere, I can't leave my toothbrush or hairbrush because I can't leave anything. Things either have to get packed in boxes to be stored, in bags for charity, or in my suitcase. This makes the packing process a lot more simpler. Now the hard part is trying not to overpack.

I'm also trying to nail down my schedule for the first few weeks after I've left. First, I'm going to Boston visiting family for three days, then Paris for four. After that I will be in Madrid for about a week for orientation and then I'm planning on spending four or five days somewhere, probably at the beach. This is the exciting part





Moving to Spain



In February I applied with CIEE to teach English in Madrid- the scariest and most exciting thing that I have ever done. About one week after I applied, I was accepted, and a few days after that, I confirmed enrollment. Although I had been interested in the program since last fall, I didn't think it would really happen- like most pipe dreams, I would loose interest, or wouldn't get all the paperwork in order in time, or not get accepted. Once I applied, the process happened so quickly and I decided very fast that this was maybe sort of kind of what I wanted to do.
Of course there were and still are many fears- how will I communicate with my friends and family back home? What about the language barrier? Culture shock? What if I can't afford it? All of these fears rushing through my head as I pressed enter to confirm my enrollment, sealing my fate for the next year and a half.
The pros completely outweighed the cons. If I didn't do it now, when would I do it? I always wanted to take a year off to travel, and this is the only way that I could afford to spend so much time in Europe.
I may be afraid but I'm so ready to start this experience. In about four months I take off!