Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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Good day in Spain

This picture reminds me of one of my favorite moments in Spain. This picture was taken on my birthday and its of me and some of my new friends that I made while abroad. By the time this picture was taken I had about a month left until I would return home in the United States. By this point I had gotten over all the homesickness related struggles that I felt at the beginning of my experience with all the new bigger and smaller cultural differences. What was great about this day was that going to the discotecas and bars for social purposes had become repetitive, given that the Spanish like to go out much later and often than Americans. While those things were still nice too do, it was fun having two of my good friends throw me a little house party gathering for my birthday. This picture is of me, my friends, and two cops that were very nice and willing to take pictures with us, even though I think they were there to stop the party. The Spanish culture is so different than in the US not just in terms of their law enforcement, but also in just how their culture is so much more relaxed.

Some difficulties that are common for studying abroad and that I even had difficult with, despite meeting so much new people is in how hard it is to be somewhere where you don’t have you’re normal friends. What’s hard about this is that it almost forces you to go outside of you’re comfort zone and exercise you’re social skills. What I mean by social skills is in the way you interact with other people. While it may be easy to act one way around people that you have know for a long time and feel comfortable with, it is much more difficult to try and express yourself and the essence of who you are to people that don’t know you the same way. My advice for if you’re having these difficulties is to take a deep breath, do something fun, or talk to someone about it that you feel that you can trust.

-Ramon Arredondo

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