I’ve already touched on the subject of my personal development in a couple of my previous blog posts; however, I feel that, being perhaps the chief benefit from studying abroad, it deserves its own post for International Education Week.
When my IES Abroad program here in Madrid started, I was not sure what would happen–what the experience would make of me. This scared me, frankly, and I had the impulse to want to go home for pretty much the entire first two weeks. My family told me that I would eventually settle in and everything would be fine, and of course, they were correct. I can see now, having fully adjusted to life in Madrid and become comfortable, that those feelings were basically growing pains. I was not as mature as I though I was, and there was no way that I could have imagined the impact that living so far from home for so long would have on me. It was a “flight or fight” response, and since there was nowhere to go, I had to fight though.
I’ve surprised myself by how relatively quickly I have become happy living and studying in Madrid despite the distance from home. In my opinion, I would have eventually settled and found my bearings in any setting as I have here. It is simply the initial culture shock (language especially) that was so uncomfortable for me at the beginning. I also had to come to terms with the fact that this would be my home for the three and a half months to come. Once I did, I was able to focus on learning and having as much fun as possible. On this note, another thing that has surprised me has been how much Spanish I have learned without really trying. I credit this to my wonderful host family who don’t speak a single word of English. I don’t think I would be able to understand around 90% of what people say as I do now had I chosen to live in an apartment.
I have definitely grown a ton while studying abroad. I have become more mature, independent, and experienced all from living in this foreign city. Without a doubt, I have acquired many more skills both for my college major and for my life during this semester abroad than I would have in any number of semesters back at my home university.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Nick Taglianetti. I am from Philadelphia, and I study computer engineering at Hofstra University in New York. Anything related to music, computers, traveling, soccer or deep frying, I'm your guy! I love learning about and sharing experiences of new places and cultures. Follow me for an intriguing insight.</span></p>