In Richard Slimbach’s book, he discusses the importance of traveling and finding ourselves. In chapter two of Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning, Slimbach states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (54). The study abroad experience does not only offer us the knowledge about a new country and culture, but it also gives us the time to learn more about ourselves. I know that studying abroad here in Barcelona I have learned so much here and I have grown as a person. This growth is not something that would have happened back home in a classroom. I have learned more about the Spanish culture and others within Europe, and I am leaving here with an open mind about the world that surrounds me. I have also learned that I have a new love and desire for traveling. This experience has shown me that there is so many other parts of the world I want to see and new cultures that I want to learn about.
Being a global citizen and becoming a member of the global community has been an unforgettable experience. I have learned different values and have gained new perspectives through the people I have met here, the places I have visited, and the community I have become a part of. Through the struggle of speaking the Spanish language and the excitement of immersing into a new culture, I have learned what it is to be a global citizen. I hope that I am able to spread this new knowledge that I have gained and to inspire others on the importance of studying abroad. I am excited to share with my friends and family the experiences I have gained.
As it is coming down to my last week here in Barcelona, the bittersweet feeling of leaving this place is really starting to kick in. While I am very excited to see my family and friends, I am truly sad to leave this place that has become my new home. A few months ago I was nervous and still going through the difficulty of being away from home, but now, here in Barcelona, I have found a new home. It is extremely difficult for me to say goodbye to the friends that I have made here, the teachers I have learned from, and the places that have given me some of the best moments of my life. Since some of my friends are leaving to return to the U.S. this weekend, we all decided to go out to brunch one last time before everyone departed, along with the two faculty members that we became close with from our program at CEA. We laughed and shared some of our most memorable moments here in Barcelona. As we said our goodbyes we all hugged each other and a few of us shed some tears. We said, “This isn’t goodbye, it’s hasta pronto,” which means “see you soon.”
There are many quotes that describe this feeling I have right now about leaving this beautiful city. But one quote that expresses my thoughts in this moment is Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey’s statement that says, “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” I think the study abroad experience really makes an individual change and grow. I am leaving here with a new perspective on life and with an open mind. I am leaving here with a new set of cultural values. I am leaving here as a changed individual. I dreamed about coming to Barcelona for years and while it is difficult to leave the beautiful country of Spain, I know that I can say “hasta pronto,” because one day I will be back.