This photo isn’t quite as picturesque as the others, but it seemed fitting for my final post. What you see above was my view walking into my last day of classes in Spain, mildly prepared for the two exams and two essays due that day and fully prepared to get that work load off my plate. My goal here isn’t to complain about the schoolwork, though; for the most part it was pretty manageable. What I want to do here is just reflect on the past five weeks of my life now that I’ve made it back to the United States.
It’s crazy to think that the program has come to an end already. After months of anticipation filled with applications, orientations, meetings, and packing, it didn’t even feel real when I finally touched down in Barcelona. To think back on that first day, jet lagged and lost in the streets searching for somewhere to get a quick lunch before yet another orientation meeting, feels so long ago. Trying to make conversation with a completely new group of people, entirely in Spanish, as we toured the hotel and the university feels like another life compared to the strong group of friends I ended the program with. It’s like a little paradox: the initial moments of the trip feel like distant memories, but the fact that it’s over already also doesn’t seem real.
Honestly, this program was an amazing experience in every sense. From super sweet professors to making new friends I never would have met otherwise, I’m go glad I made the decision to apply. In terms of study abroad, I learned so much about Spanish history, culture, and traditions through excursions, class, and conversations with local students. Although we were tourists in a sense, hitting up all of the classic sights in the city, we also had the chance to live like locals, adapting to Spanish culture and visiting the more genuine side of the city. We were kept busy in the best way but also given time to relax and explore places not included in the program (like Camp Nou or the Picasso museum). I spent hours at the beach just relaxing and reading, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea with new friends, trying (and failing) to get a tan. Although I was wishing to go home that last week, writing countless essays and studying for finals, as soon as I had handed in my last exam I didn’t want to leave Spain. And now here I am back in the USA, slowly adapting to no longer eating dinner at 10pm. Barcelona, I’ll miss you.