Here’s to New Adventures

As I enter my final month in Spain (on another note, what happened to the other three months?), I find myself reflecting on the study abroad experience. I take away this: utilize every opportunity. At first I attributed my exciting chances, be it a trip to Paris or Morocco, a Real Madrid game, a hike in the mountains or a performance of El Rey Leon, to being in a new place, but I recently conceded that a change in attitude was the defining factor.

Choosing to study abroad might be the most exciting and the scariest thing I, as a student, have thus far decided to do. After almost three months, I might add also one of the best things. I go to a private Christian college in the Illinois suburbs with 2400 undergraduate students. I chose a study abroad program in Madrid city center, attending classes at a public university because I sought a change, and as cliché as it sounds, I knew I would learn more about the world and about myself. Trite as it is, I was exactly correct.

First opportunity accepted: study in Madrid. Of course, in a new city, other CIEE students and I wished to explore. The first couple weeks, I used silly excuses such as “I’m tired” or “I should wait to see this.” Before long, I resolved to be more active in Madrid, and since then, options appear everywhere. I may never again live in Madrid, so I have to make this semester worthwhile. Writing this post having just returned from Brussels, I succeeded.

The question remains: What happens when I return to school? The truth is I’m not sure. However, I do know I will go back with a renewed sense of flexibility, adventure and global awareness. I won’t get ahead of myself; that’s still a month away. For now, I still look forward to a visit from my family, Paris again, London, Valencia, more time with my host family and more time to work on Spanish.

Chocolate demonstration in Brussels

Chocolate demonstration in Brussels

Grand Place in Brussels, right where we stayed

Grand Place in Brussels, right where we stayed

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