My name is Diana Arteaga, I’m a first generation college student, Mexican-American, and I study Sociology at UC Berkeley. I’m so excited to serve as a Diversity Abroad Ambassador for my time abroad! I’m going to be studying abroad for my entire senior year and I’m going to be sharing my journey, my experiences and my advice with you all.
I’m writing this article using the complimentary free WiFi at LAX. I’m getting ready to board my flight to Lisboa, Portugal, where I will be taking an intensive Portuguese language course for the month of July. In August, I’ll be heading to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the fall and spring semesters.
Having already studied abroad in Córdoba, Spain for a semester, and made many (read: many) travel mistakes, I have a better idea of how to prepare. For instance, tip #1: when packing, less is always more.
Last time, I took a carry on backpack and a large suitcase and maxed out all my space in them. That turned out to be too much. My suitcase was full of clothes and products that were all for “what if?” scenarios that never actually ended up happening or that I only ended up using a small handful of times. It would have been much easier to leave those things at home, as traveling with excess luggage can be such a hassle, especially if you want to use cheap airlines with strict baggage rules and fees.
This time around, I’m only bringing a carry-on sized backpack and my school backpack, which will make it infinitely easier to travel. But I’ve checked in my carry-on backpack because I decided that there was one thing that I really needed to bring with me from home this trip–PEANUT BUTTER.
Peanut butter, as I discovered in Spain, is surprisingly a very American thing, and as a vegetarian, it’s one of my favorite sources of protein. In America, you can get a jar of peanut butter for $2 to $3. In Europe, if you can even find it, it can run you between 5€ to 6€ (~$5.50 to $6.50 on 6/1/16). I’d rather put that difference of money to something else, like an açai bowl in Rio.
In all honestly, even though I’ve studied abroad before and have traveled solo for the majority of my trips outside of Córdoba, I’m a bit nervous. But that nervousness is overpowered by my excitement. I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life, and I’ve set goals for myself. I want to talk with more people while on the road, embarrass myself with my attempts to speak Portuguese, and overcome the fear of being judged for making language mistakes.
My flight is taking off in less than an hour. I’ve loaded up my phone with travel podcasts and have my Kindle charged, filled with travel memoirs, to keep me entertained for this 13 hour journey.
There is only one thing that I forgot to do… Learn how to say “peanut butter” in Portuguese (thank goodness for Google).
Tchau from Los Angeles 🙂