Preparing for a Spanish Summer

My bedroom is littered with an array of luggage, travel books and the notes from my Spanish classes that I’ve been frantically studying. Sprite, my elderly black lab, is nestled between the six suitcases I’m trying to decide on but I don’t think he has realized that I’m leaving.

Preparing to study abroad

Even though I’ve been planning this trip in my head for years, I can’t say that I’ve really realized that I’m leaving either.

In 11 days I will be on a plane to New Jersey!

Jersey Shore

Photo attributed to Erin Kelly

…Which is far less exciting than the fact that in 11 days and a few hours I will be on a plane to Madrid!

Madrid Gran Vía

Photo attributed to Felipe Gabaldón

What you should know about me is I am a maximizer. I want to ring every drop of life out of this world by trying everything and leaving no option unexplored. And this is how I ended up going from planning a traditional semester study abroad  to a summer experience that’s 1 month Madrid study abroad, 1 month Spanish backpacking and 1 month guided Western European tour.

Funny thing about rolling three different trips in to one is that packing becomes a real struggle. But that’s a post for another day.

Stay tuned for my musings on leaving the country for the first time and how I plan on orchestrating this borderline ridiculous endeavor.


  1. For a summer in Europe, you definitely don’t need six suitcases. I studied abroad in South Africa for six months (and yes, it ranged from 100 degree days to 40 degree days). I brought with me: 1 bookbag; 1 carry-on suitcase; and 1 26-inch checked suitcase. I did bring a collapsible duffel that I did not use on the way there but was glad to have on the way back. Remember – you are the one who will be responsible for moving all of your luggage and when you pack to come home, you will be glad you left empty space in your bags!

    1. Thank you for the advice Karolyn! But yes I was already planning on just going for two pieces (my mom just got a little over zealous and bought me a set!). I’m thinking I will bring the medium sized suitcase and a nice backpack that converts into a duffel. Since I’ll be basically backpacking one leg of the journey, I definitely have to go light.

      Six months in South Africa? That sounds amazing. I love that you picked a less traditional study abroad location.

      Thanks again for the tips!

      1. Another tip is to not use the expandable sections of the suitcase on the way there. You will never pack as well on the way back as on your journey there! Have fun!

  2. I love it Ashley… Sounds amazing. Cant wait to read all about your trip, Im so happy for you!

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