Home Spain Study Abroad: What I’ve Learned About Myself

Study Abroad: What I’ve Learned About Myself

by Krystin Mangan

1. Having a social life is a little bit necessary

As ridiculous as it sounds, I did not realize how important it is to actually socialize with people on a regular basis. Before this trip, I was all about finishing school quickly and working as much as possible. I had the mindset that I can have a social life after I graduate. I didn’t realize what an impact even just going for a twenty minute walk with someone else had on my day.

2. I’m more relaxed now

I’m definitely more “go with the flow” than I used to be. Plans change so quickly based on what you feel like doing on a given day so I am definitely more laid back.

3. I am definitely a city person

All of my life people have told me I am a city person eventhough I grew up in the suburbs (more like the suburbs of the suburbs). The thing is, I never believed them until I came here. It is so convenient to walk 100 feet to the grocery store rather than having to drive 15-20 minutes. There is less variety but there are also so many supermarkets that it is not an inconvenience.

There is also always something to do. From walking to the nearest park to sitting in a local café or simply people watching in Las Ramblas. I love the city and the crowded streets. I am definitely going to miss it all.

4. I am more of a picky eater than I realized

My host family was frustrated with me the first few days because of my lack of eating. They gave me pork and I ate two bites. They gave me cooked raisins and I ate one. It was touch and go those first few days.

5. I am open to trying new things

Tapas from the tapas tour

Tapas from the tapas tour

Which brings me to number five. Since being in Barcelona I have been trying more foods. I had spiced sausage which was good. I also tried chorizo and potatoes which was delicious. I even ate croquettes (fish and chicken) which are basically a mozzarella stick with different cheese and a protein.

Aside from food, I also waited in line for 15 minutes just to touch a statue that is said to give a person good luck. Prior to this trip, you could not have paid me to stand in line for even 5 minutes to see a statue.

6. It’s the little things that make a city a home

When I first got to Barcelona, I didn’t like anything. The customs were too different, the homestay family didn’t speak English, and I was jet lagged beyond belief. I was miserable.

After being here and experiencing the small things like learning new words in Spanish, going out for tapas, or conversations in class with my professor, my mindset has completely changed.

7. I’m capable of more than I think

I am writing this on January 17th and my host mother (senora) just complimented my terrible Spanish skills. Needless to say, that was the best part of my day.

I am also terrible with maps. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this right now if not for the wonder of Google Maps. However, somehow I have managed the metro system.

On top of that, I got myself to Barcelona. Heathrow Airport was terrifying and I am not looking forward to going back, but I can say that I made it to Barcelona on my own, safely. I don’t travel alone so this is a huge accomplishment.

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