Studying abroad in Spain was one of the best decisions I could have ever made for myself. I was very nervous and scared to be away from family and friends for a whole month but it truly helped me learn things about myself and grow as a person. I traveled to so many places in the short month that I was there and tried all the different foods I could; such as pulpo and paella which was one of my favorite Spanish dishes.
Being away from everything you’ve ever known and trying to fit in was one of the hardest parts. Sometimes I struggled with communicating and it made me feel like I didn’t fit in, but you must realize you are with people going through the same changes and that without you realizing it, you are truly learning so much.
I traveled to Portugal, Barcelona, Asturias, Madrid, and explored the historic town of Alcala during my free time. Asturias was one of my favorite places. It was in the mountains of northern Spain and I had the chance to hike some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. Also, their seafood was amazing and apple cider was very popular around this area. Barcelona was amazing too! It was very touristic but park Guel was so beautiful (I highly recommend visiting here) and visiting the Mediterranean beach was such an unforgettable experience.
I loved how historic and into their culture Spain was. Almost every part of Spain I visited was breathtaking, filled with historic architecture and gorgeous cathedrals. Tapas was one of my favorite things about Spain as well. It blew my mind that you got free appetizers with drinks and they were insanely cheap. I couldn’t help but notice how different their lifestyle was from the U.S. It was normal for people to walk everywhere they went and the buses and trains took you almost anywhere you needed to go. It was also normal for people to be outside drinking wine or beer during any part of the day.
Life there was much slower paced then in the U.S. The people there are also very family oriented. Experiencing a different culture and way of life will change your perspective on a lot of things and help you grow as an individual. I learned more in a month than I had in four years. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
Tara Reese is majoring in Marketing with a minor in Spanish. She participated in a faculty-led trip to Alcala, Spain through the Spanish Department in June, 2018. Tara had the following to say about her time in Spain, “Live your life without fear of change. If you never step out of your comfort zone you will never know the potential of what life has to offer you. You will never regret taking a leap of faith, you will only regret wondering what if.”
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