Over the past few months I have learned a lot about perception; how where we come from shapes what we do, what we believe, how we act, our morals and values, and so on. When Slimbach states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” he is speaking to the new perceptions we gain as travelers. (Slimbach, 54) My time abroad has made me more accepting of people and places and opened my mind to new ways of doing things. I plan on using this skill in my future as a healthcare provider, accepting others’ beliefs and views without judgment. I think that this discovery has and will continue to contribute to my growth as an active member of the global community because in my opinion, the most successful globally active people are those who are accepting of cultural diversity. If we close ourselves off to those who are “different” we close ourselves off to a world of opportunity to learn and grow. Global relationships are so unbelievably symbiotic, and everyone should have the chance to partake in them.
I have gotten very close with my roommates here in Spain, and one of the hardest things about my abroad experience coming to an end is going to be saying goodbye to them. We have bonded so much over the past four months and have had amazing experiences as communitas. Being that we are all from different parts of the U.S., the chances of us all meeting up again at the same time are very slim. We decided that on our last night here we would each pass around our journals and write each other letters in them to remember us by, kind of like a yearbook signing. We also bought matching necklaces with the latitude and longitude coordinates of our apartment on them. In addition to this, my university here is having a farewell dinner so that all the students and professors can say goodbye to each other. Although I am dreading the “goodbye” part, I am very excited to see everyone together one last time and spend time with all the friends I’ve made here.
“The thing about new beginnings is that they require something else to end.”
Although it sounds cliché, “bittersweet” is the best word I can think of to describe my feelings on leaving. While I absolutely love Sevilla and everyone here, I really do miss my family, friends, and boyfriend. Not to mention American food and customs. I am excited to see everyone and get back to my life at home. As my countdown to home draws nearer, I can’t help but think about my favorite parts of both the United States and Spain and how fortunate I am to have been able to live in two amazing countries.
In order to bring about closure to my time abroad, I started working on a scrapbook of all the pictures and journal entries I have collected. It’s a great way to revisit all the memories I have made and put them all on paper to share with my family and friends upon my return. I think doing this as well as having a positive attitude about returning home and sharing my experiences with everyone will help me to reincorporate in a healthy and successful way.