Spain was always a country of interest for me. Since kindergarten, my school system has exposed me to the Spanish language and culture. Throughout my twelve years of schooling prior to college, I was told about all the wonderful foods, traditions, and the language of Spain and Latin America, but without truly experiencing these things myself I could not create my own opinions of Spanish culture. I chose to study abroad in Barcelona to fully develop my own understanding and appreciation for the culture that had been introduced to me so long ago. I chose Barcelona over other cities in Spain because I heard that it is rich in culture, however there are many citizens there that speak and understand English. While I hope to develop fluency in the Spanish language, I feel more comfortable knowing that there are people who understand my own first language.
I certainly see that my growing knowledge of rites of passage will aid me in making my study abroad time an experience for growth in addition to enjoyment. I would consider my old self as being somewhat of an introvert, and rites of passage teach me that I can become more of an outgoing and social extrovert if I separate from my comfortable ways and become more open to new things.
While I anticipate having an experience of a lifetime during my time abroad, I don’t think that I will fully appreciate the opportunity I had until I return back home. Lin Yutang captures this idea in the quote “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” I believe that being aware of going through this experience as a rite of passage will help me to recognize the beauty of travel and bring it home with me.