You are here

Tot Torna

July 18, 2017

The Barcelona Transport Authority, TMB, has a slogan that appears on its ads in metro stations and on buses: “Tot Torna”, which roughly translates to “Everything Returns”. The TMB uses the expression as a way of reminding its passengers to “travel with karma.” That is, if you give up seat for an elderly passenger on the subway, maybe the next day the bus will wait for you, and things of that nature. I saw this expression every day on the metro while I was in Barcelona. I never really thought about it until I came back home, and realized that “everything returns” is applicable to more than just good karma on the metro.

In Barcelona, I learned that you only get out of study abroad, or any experience, what you’re willing to put into it. I was afraid of speaking Spanish outside of class because I thought I would look foolish; as a result, I didn’t improve my Spanish as much as I had hoped. I did put a lot of effort into my area studies class, and now I feel like I have a connection with the city because I understand its history.  Everything returns, including the effort you put into your study abroad experience – what I chose to engage in, and what I didn’t, determined what I learned about the city, the culture, and myself.

The fact that I was going to return to America was always in the back of my mind while I was in Barcelona, and I’m glad that it was. When you realize that an experience is transitory, you learn to appreciate it more. My study abroad experience taught me to live in the moment and take nothing for granted. Each day in Barcelona I had the opportunity to walk past the Sagrada Familia, or swim in the Mediterranean Sea, or a hundred other unique experiences. Now those opportunities are gone. Recognizing that everything returns, and nothing is permanent, made me thankful for what I had in Barcelona, and I hope to continue living with that sense of gratitude.

Even though I’ve returned home, I think the lessons I learned in Barcelona will stick with me for a long time. I’ve gained a better understanding of another culture, and a new appreciation for what I have.  I’m incredibly grateful to IES Abroad for providing me with this experience. I’d also like to thank Colby College, and my parents, for helping fund my study abroad. Finally, thank you to anyone who's reading this. I’ve really enjoyed writing this blog, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Muchas gracias, y hasta siempre,

Martin

From Our Blogs

Jul 18 2:59am

Why Study Abroad In the Summer

by Shea

If you are like me, you may have a lot of questions about studying abroad in the summer. Is it too short? Is it enough time to travel? Do you get full credits for the courses you take? Are there less places and courses to choose from? Do you get the full experience of being abroad?

Learn more
Jul 18 12:50am

Ebb and Flow

by Erin

I feel like pinching myself when I say it, but I miss home a lot. It’s so hard to admit it to myself. How could I possibly want this wonderful trip to end? It seems ungrateful, and whiny.

Learn more
Jul 18 12:08am

Shanghai Summer Internship Classes

by Lexi

In addition to our internships, we all have Chinese class once a week, as well as our internship seminar course. Our internship seminar course is a two-and-a-half hour class, which meets Thursday nights after we arrive home from our respective internships.

Learn more
Jul 17 5:09pm

Champions du monde!!!

by Natalie

Nothing, absolutely nothing prepared me for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would be the winning of the World Cup by France while I was abroad.

Learn more
Jul 17 4:07pm

Congrats, Joey

by Jake

This is one of those things that you just can’t make up. I didn’t think Europe would change my opinion of the United States – and I’m still not entirely convinced it has. So, let’s just call this the story of the time I thought for a second it did.

Learn more
Jul 17 3:24pm

20 Ways to Develop Language Skills Outside of the Classroom

by IES Abroad

We get it. You might not always have the time to take classes for formal language instruction. Here are 20 ways to keep up your foreign language skills (or establish some basics) before you study abroad.

Learn more