The Fastest Four Months
As my final days in Barcelona approach, I have begun to look back on my time here and reflect on it all. It seems impossible that it has already been almost four months. I feel like I just got here, and yet I also cannot believe how much has happened. While trying to cram in all my favorite things one more time and study for finals in the next week or so, I am also taking the time to think about all the things I have learned, how I have changed, and what I want to take back home with me from my experiences.
I cannot even begin to explain how much I have learned from this experience, both in and out of the classroom. I have learned a lot about other languages and cultures, of course. I have a better understanding of geography, global politics, and world history. One of the things I really did not expect, however, was how much I learned about my own country. When you interact with so many new cultures you are forced to question everything that has always seemed obvious or normal at home. I have learned to take a look at all the ways I do things and put them into cultural perspective. When I go home, I am never going to see all the regular things that everyone does in the same way.
Going abroad also allows you to learn a lot about yourself and even change along the way. This has certainly been a transformative experience for me. I have learned how to interact with other cultures, how to suspend judgement, and how to understand situations from new perspectives. I have also become a much more confident person when it comes to trying new things. Traveling has becoming a breeze and I feel that I can navigate cities and public transportation much better than I ever imagined. I also feel more comfortable leaving my comfort zone and I am already thinking about ways I can continue to do so when I get home.
All my experiences in Europe have impacted me in big and small ways and I want to take everything I have learned back home with me. In class, we have learned how to talk about study abroad experiences on a resume and in a job interview. This has been very helpful, but I also cannot wait to simply implement everything I have learned in my every day life. I plan to continue to question my own culture and the things that seem like such a given in the world. I think I will be much more openminded when I get home and always try to see things from other perspectives. Lastly, I feel that I will be a lot more curious about the world around me. I want to continue to learn about the world, even my small community at home, and keep on exploring and learning new things.
I could say a million things about my study abroad experience and all my favorite memories, but overall I just want to say that I am grateful to have had this opportunity. My advice to anyone would simply be to enjoy every moment, because it goes by in the blink of an eye.
Julia D. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Communications & Film at University of Michigan