It has been some time since I have finished my stay in Madrid. I often think of the city that I called home for a month and reflect on my time there. One of the biggest takeaways that I have gained from my international experience is just that, international experience. My program abroad gave me the skills to become a more global citizen, I have now lived in another country and I have had the opportunity to understand and live in another culture. I have spoken a different language, lived life, eaten, went to school and enjoyed life like a Spaniard for a month. My experience has given me the opportunity to understand Spanish life with a deeper understanding than I have before. Also, since I have Spanish for many years I have gained a confidence with the language that I would not have otherwise gained if I was not immersed in a Spanish speaking culture.
My advice to students considering study abroad is to do it. There might be some hurdles in the way of you doing it but once you have overcome them and studied abroad you will be grateful that you did. Studying in another country is an experience like no other and will serve you for a very long time. It might seem scary or daunting but the obstacles of study abroad will make you a better person for it. I would also advise that students, once they have picked a location, research the place they will be living and become as knowledgeable as you can about your new home. It will serve you well.
As I reflect on my experience, there is just one thing that I would change. I would have liked to have traveled more. There are not very many weekends in a month and I was able to get the most out of them but I would have liked to travel to different locations and to have seen more of Spain and Europe. But it does provide me with an incentive to return again. I would one day like to travel and live abroad again, perhaps as a teacher.
My overall experience has been a tremendous achievement of mine. There are things about Madrid that I miss and long to experience again. The opportunity to live in Spain was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am glad that I did it. The experience has meant a great deal to me and can’t put it into words as there is a mixture of emotions about my experience. But there is one thing that I can say, it was an amazing experience and one I will never forget.