There is one question I always dread when talking about my study abroad experience: where is your favorite place you visited? With all of the amazing, unique, and diverse cities I traveled to during the spring semester of 2017, how am I possibly supposed to choose? My home base was the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain, where I studied, explored, made some amazing friends, and ate some unbelievable food. On the weekends, I travelled. In four months I visited 10 countries, 18 cities, and 2 continents.
My choice to study abroad was a no-brainer. I knew it was something I wanted to do even before I began college. After spending one month in San Jose, Costa Rica, studying Spanish through the Auburn Department of Foreign Languages, I became determined that a semester abroad was the next step. I thought finding a program to fit my double major in Economics and Spanish and minor in Sustainability Studies would be a challenge, but I managed to find the perfect program that incorporated all of my class requirements.
Studying abroad is full of learning experiences, both in the classroom and beyond. It teaches you the important skills of adapting to new environments and overcoming unexpected obstacles. I got to put both of these skills to the test during a weekend trip to Morocco, when a scheduling mishap left my friends and I to rebook our transportation home while staying in a hotel with no cell-reception, no Wi-Fi, and midterms back in Barcelona on Monday afternoon. Luckily our perseverance paid off, and we all made it to our tests on time, suitcases in hand, with moments to spare. Although I do not hope to relive these circumstances anytime soon, it was a valuable growing experience that I will not soon forget.
My absolute favorite part of studying abroad was being able to immerse myself in so many new cultures. One luxury of studying in Europe is the close proximity to a plethora of diverse nations with rich history and cultural heritage. I found myself touring the Coliseum in Rome while eating gelato one weekend, and wandering through the Louvre in Paris the next. Since my return home, I have discovered that I crave these experiences. The thing that I was so nervous about in the beginning, being out of my comfort zone, is now what I miss the most about my journey. I cannot express how much studying abroad has shaped me as a person, allowing me to fully embrace independence and opening my mind to the endless possibilities that are available. It is truly an experience that I hope everyone has the opportunity to share.
CEA Barcelona, Spring 2017