A map of a bike route through northern Spain

This is the route through Spain that I will be biking in just a few weeks!


On a normal day last semester, I was sitting next to my friend in Spanish class. But then my professor came in to the room and told us about an incredible travel study opportunity he was offering called the Camino De Santiago, a bike trip across the northern region of Spain.

As avid bikers, my friend and I were blown away. We were dumbfounded by even the possibility of participating in an opportunity like this. Moments after the professor finished his presentation and began class, she looked over to me and said “Do you want to bike across Spain with me?”

I responded with the only words that could come to someone’s mind after hearing a question like that, “Oh, hell yeah!”

I would be lying, however, if I said I had no anxieties. I made every dreaded “yeah, but” excuse in the books about why I should not go on this trip

  • Yeah, but…can I afford it?
  • Yeah, but…what will my boss say?
  • Yeah, but…what will my parents think?

Watch out for the “yeah, but” excuses; they have an incredible power to consume you. These kinds of excuses continued to run through my head until one day it hit me: SO WHAT?

Folks, we are young! We’re in college, a time of independence and freedom. It is now when we have this freedom and independence that we should go out and explore the world. We have a golden opportunity to go and expand our horizons, experience new cultures, make new friends and have an adventure.

If I kept making excuses and had not chosen to go on the trip, the only “yeah, but” that would have remained with me would be “Yeah, but what if I had gone?”

Winona State has an incredible study abroad program for those of you who are interested in getting out and seeing the world. You can choose to spend a summer abroad, a semester abroad, or even an entire year out of the country.

These experiences are open to a wide variety of majors and are always willing to accommodate for students.

For those of you who cannot commit the time for a full study abroad experience, the school also offers travel study trips. These programs are typically shorter trips that range from a week up to a whole month, and they are usually offered during winter and summer breaks.

In addition, these travel studies count for course credit and are a great way to cover an unfilled general education goal.

Ok, now I may call them excuses, but many questions of finances and time commitments are strong and very valid concerns. The International Programs Office is located on the first floor of Maxwell, and they are open and always willing to answer questions for worried students.

Stop in and say hello–you won’t regret it.