I don’t think I could ever put in to words how fast this experience has flown by. Even with the constant reflections and thoughtfulness QU 301 has given to me, it is still so difficult to describe going through this rite of passage. I am so thankful that I have these posts to look back on so I can remember what I was thinking and feeling as I was navigating the new things of the Spanish culture. This adventure has been more meaningful because of reflection and has forced me to look at my experience from different perspectives. I have a more holistic view of my transformation. Over the past few months, I have realized that people have very different views of the study abroad experience. Some people think that studying abroad is like a “4 month vacation” and fail to see the students that really take the time to go through this rite of passage and gain something intangible and meaningful. For example in the article they say that students often base their experience off of “peer or media values, many of which may be destructive both individually and communally.” Although documenting the events are important, it needs to be done in a productive way. Writing this blog is a constructive way to document the experience because it is meaningful and positive. This is very different from posting pictures on Instagram to see how many people “like” your photos. Doing this, does not help the individual or the community grow. This type of documentation is more for the image rather than a learning experience or positive impact. The organization of my thoughts through QU 301 has been advantageous record of my journey.
After the completion of all our blog posts and our study abroad experience, we have to create a digital story presentation. I looked at the guidelines for the presentation and it seems like a way to bring together all of the posts and include one final reflection. It also requires even more creativity and thoughtfulness. I really see the importance of this and am excited to convey my experience in a unique way. The digital story presentation will be the perfect opportunity to summarize the journey of the past 3 and a half months. In addition, it will be something to look back on to remember and explain my experience. It will be a representation of how studying abroad in Barcelona has impacted me as well as how I may have impacted the culture around me.
Watching all the digital stories gave me a lot of inspiration for creating mine. It was bittersweet seeing how amazing their experiences were, but also how quickly they went. I can’t believe I will be making my digital story so soon. I thought Christine’s digital story about her experience in Florence, Italy was inspiring. She did an excellent job of relating her experience to her interactions with Italians as she moved into her comfort zone. After describing how she moved into her comfort zone, she compared her experience to that of a bridge because of the famous bridge Ponte Vecchio. She spoke about how her journey was like crossing over the bridge and into a new world and culture that she had never expected. Christine ended with talking about how without traveling we only see one page in the whole book of life and how much her abroad experience inspired her to see more of the world and absorb different cultures. Her digital story inspired me to think of analogies that can better explain my abroad experience. I felt like I really learned about Christine’s experience through her presentation.