The connections we make abroad in are home city or around the world are the essential things we will remember. In Richard Slimbach book, Becoming World Wise, he said “ If we allow, global learning will now only carry us into the world around us but also into this world within (p.54)” Part of my experience abroad was learning how to handle myself in certain situation and learning to open up to new things. While studying abroad I learned how to be in touch with the world inside myself. Slimbach spoke about how people feel when they are placed in a new country and he said, that aspect of vulnerability that comes with the unknown makes us in touch with who we truly are on the inside. When I first arrived to Barcelona, the liminal phase in full force. I was not scared but more thrown off because I was in a different city that spoke a completely different language. This phase is known for bringing heightened awareness and creativity and lastly change. Throughout this phase I saw myself change in terms of responsibility and patience. Barcelona is known for the heavy pick pocketing so I was more aware of my surroundings and belongings, also being in big groups or getting lost without my iPhone maps app I had learned patience. Reflecting on my liminal phase I find it to be one of the best experiences in life. My creativity was heightened to the point I even used a paper map while traveling in Berlin (yes a paper map! Who knew they even made those anymore) I have realized that I am a very independent person and that I am capable of doing things on my own. Also, I have realized that I am curious about what makes me inherently different from others, especially those who were raised in different countries, and that the beauty of these differences mystifies me and I want to learn more about them.
Slimbach writes, “Global learning can contribute to earth healing, but only as it sets our imaginations free to see and experience the world differently(p. 67).” As I learned about myself in the liminal phase I had a heightened awareness of what separates American culture from Catalan culture and Spanish culture. While studying abroad in Barcelona, but being the blessed to travel throughout Spain and interacting with locals I was able to see the difference within the mannerisms and culture compared to Americans. I noticed that Spaniards and Catalans are more willing to enjoy each others company or even enjoy their own company rather than scarfing down their food or ordering coffee to go. As a global citizen I was aware of the differences across the cultures, and recognized the value in them. I see that I can now learn from the differences and also look to identify places in the world where I fit in and can make a difference. The global citizen must use education and reflection to make meaning of global experiences and use that meaning to have a positive impact on the world.
This QU 301 class and assignment has given me the skills to integrate within Barcelona, the rest of Spain and its culture. Unlike some of my counterparts, I was aware of potential setbacks I would have during the semester. I was aware that social media could hold me back from seeing what is in front of me. For the simple fact it would make me miss home, my best friends and the events going on at school. I told both my family and friends about the period of separation I would have to go through in order to adjust and they were accepting of it. I was able to create better memories and have a more well-rounded experience because of this.
As I look ahead to April 28, I can’t help but feel happy and sad. I am happy because my mom and sister are coming to visit me, but I can’t imagine leaving my home in Barcelona. I have had the best experiences at restaurants, my apartment, the beach clubs and by myself. The thought of leaving somewhere you call home is bittersweet. It will be extremely hard to accept the fact that some of these people I may not see again in person via distance, or be able to eat at my favorite restaurants. I fear having reverse culture shock when I head back to the United States, because I realize how strange Americans tend to do somethings. On the other hand, I feel like I have gotten the most out of my experience and have truly lived through the Catalan culture. I embraced every opportunity that was given to me and I am able to leave with almost no regrets. I am beyond ecstatic to see my family and friends and give them their presents I brought them form all over the world Going through this rite of passage has helped me flourish into a mature adult and recognize my life goals and aspirations. My life long dream has been fulfilled and I couldn’t be happier.
This is the most accurate depiction about how my roommates and I feel about leaving Barcelona next week: