Study abroad was something I have been interested in since eighth grade, I had a Spanish teacher who told me that it is an experience that I would love, and she was right.
I backpacked Europe for about 60 days before my program began, I also traveled on the weekends once my semester started. I visited Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, and Morocco. Spain was my favorite country; each city is so unique. Also, my boyfriend proposed to me in Barcelona, which was a pretty memorial experience.
Before the program began I traveled to Barcelona, Spain; Nice, France ;Rome, Italy; Florence, Italy; Venice, Italy; Milan, Italy; Nice, France; Valencia, Spain. Madrid, Spain; Toledo, Spain; Seville, Spain; Barcelona, Spain; Rome, Italy;Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; Seville Spain
My study abroad program began September 4th in Seville, Spain. I visited Jarez, Spain; Conil on the coast of Andalusia; Lagos, Portugal; Portimao, Portugal; Cordoba, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; Killarney, Ireland; Cork, Ireland; Blarney, Ireland; Malaga, Spain; Ronda, Spain; Estepa, Spain; Osuna, Spain; Italica, Spain; Aracena, Spain; Tetuan, Morocco; Tangier, Morocco; Chauen, Morocco; Granada, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Sintra, Portugal; and lastly Barcelona, Spain, again.
The thing I learned the most from study and travel abroad was stress management. Traveling by trains is an involved experience. When I was trying to get from Nice, France to Valencia, Spain I spent an entire day switching from commuter trains every two hours. The first train left NiceVille at 6am, and I eventually arrived in Valencia at 12:30 at night. Dealing with language barriers and complex travel schedules for nearly 6 months has assured me that I can handle any of the stresses I encounter in Ohio, with a familiar environment and my native language.
I was incredibly surprised to find that customer service was so absent in the Mediterranean work force. If I ever were to work in Europe, I would keep in mind the drastic differences between the American business mentality and the European mentality. I also improved my Spanish language skills.
There were only 35 students in my program, and I was the only student from Ohio. I really benefited from being in such a small program because I got to know all of my teachers and classmates.
Travel is such an incredible form of education; managing to survive without speaking the language of the region, meeting diverse people, observing how they live their life. Every town is entirely unique, but Seville, Spain was by far the more beautiful and authentic.