Studying Abroad: My Final Reflection

Ian Johnson
April 19, 2015

This week I leave for Barcelona and head back home to Louisville, Kentucky. It's been four months since I arrived in Spain and the time has flown by - just as I was told it would. Studying abroad has been an experience. I've tried to find an adjective to place before the word experience, but each time I write one down I delete it. Perhaps this is because there is no single adjective to describe the type of experience studying in a foreign country offers. 

You will often hear students refer to studying abroad as a "life changing experience". This may be true for some, but not for me. I feel as if I came to Europe with a deep understanding of myself. What studying abroad has been for me is something very different. Studying abroad has taught me to be appreciative. I've always appreciated everything I've ever been given, but studying abroad has given this concept greater significance. 

While studying in Spain and traveling Europe, I've had the chance to interact with individuals of many different nationalities, cultures, and socioeconomic situations. No two individual situations are perfectly similar, and thus it is nearly impossible to compare them. But what I have been able to do is come to one conclusion for certain: I have been fortunate enough to receive everything I could ever ask for in my life. 

My life in the United States is very different than my life in Europe. Back home, I have access to the best healthcare possible, job opportunities and vast professional networks, best friends that I've known since middle school, and of course, a family that I love very much. Studying abroad has been refreshing. It has allowed me to lead a new life in a foreign culture. I've explored the world, met incredible people, and moved many steps closer to speaking fluent Spanish. But today is exciting. I am ready to return home. I have so much to be thankful for in my life back home, and studying abroad has taught me that I cannot take anything for granted.

While I'm sad to leave this beautiful country that is Spain, I am excited for what lies ahead. I'm not sure when I will return to Europe, but it will certainly be in the near future. I am feeling a lot of mixed emotions right now, but I most strongly feel a sense of appreciation and gratitude. Thank you Mom, Dad, and IES Abroad Barcelona for the experience of a lifetime. 

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Ian Johnson

<div>I am a junior undergraduate at Indiana University&rsquo;s Kelley School of Business, majoring in Marketing &amp; International Business. I am also a member of the Kelley Consulting Workshop &mdash; a program geared toward building analysis, presentation, and teamwork capabilities for a competitive career in consulting. I am currently pursuing a career in Marketing Strategy and Brand Development. As a value-driven individual passionate about holistic health and well-being, I continue to search for new opportunities to contribute to the health and longevity of our people and planet.</div>

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