I am not quite sure how to go about with this post as this is my last one in Barcelona. For the first time since being here, I cannot find the words to describe how I am feeling. I haven’t even grasped that the semester is over, and that I am leaving soon. It feels like yesterday that I was meeting my host mom all flustered, introducing myself to my roommate, and unpacking my bags into the closet. Time flies, is the understatement of the century.
Before studying abroad, I vividly remember feeling nervous and anxious. I had wondered if I made the wrong choice in going abroad, and I felt left out as all my friends were headed to school for senior year. I avoided packing and thinking about going abroad until the day of my flight, feeling utterly afraid of the unknown. While this abroad experience was not all perfect, it was definitely the highlight of my year, and probably one of the best things that I have done in my life.
I want to thank IES Abroad for giving me the opportunity to have this experience, and Barcelona, for being the perfect place for me to experience going abroad. This journey has given me a home away from home, and a lifetime full of memories. I have met and learned from people who I would have never come in contact with if I had not come here, from professors at IES Abroad and a local university, to students, whom were both from Spain and from other parts of the US, to locals from my homestay and internship.
I have also grown since being here. Prior to this semester, I had lived my whole life in the US, specifically in New York. I had never lived with another family before, and came basically on my own to Barcelona. This experience taught me how strong of a person I am, and how independent I can be. I think it has made me a more confident person, and someone who is more comfortable with just being me, as well. In the past, I think I could have sometimes been a little passive. While I think this can still happen depending on the situation, studying abroad has made me a little more self-focused, more mindful, and forced me to think on my own more. Because the time here was so limited, there were times where I unapologetically voiced my opinion on what I wanted to do, and if no one wanted to come with me, I learned to be able to go by myself, such as with museum exhibits and restaurants. When else would I have a chance to do this again? By the end of the semester, I even traveled by myself for about a week.
This experience showed me how big of a role technology and social media plays in my life, too. While it took a while, I learned to be more present throughout this semester. I learned how to switch off my phone, to not care as much about what was happening back at home, and to really focus on and enjoy what was in front of me.
Lastly, this experience gave me some perspective on the world. It’s so easy to stay within my American bubble, and especially the one I have in New York City. However, travelling to various countries, and living abroad showed me what a small space I take up, and how big the world really is. There is so much to explore, learn, and see in the world as well as so many different cultures to immerse myself in, and people to meet.This semester has given me the travel bug, and hopefully I will have a chance in the future to travel again to Europe and other continents too.
Looking forward, hopefully when I get back to the US, I will continue to grow, and to take what I have learned and how I have changed to heart. I want to make sure to not always be so in a rush or stuck within my phone screen, and to take the time to enjoy what is around me, because time is constantly fleeting. Most importantly, I hope to remain confident and comfortable with who I am and what I think, and to continue to explore, because while it may be a little scary to step outside of one’s comfort zone, this abroad journey has shown me that it is so worth it. Gracias por todo, Barcelona; I have been changed for good.
Talk soon in my next and final blog post!