Adiós Madrid




Studying abroad was a humbling experience. My time abroad was difficult yet rewarding. I learned a lot about the world around me and gained a global perspective, which is tough to do without traveling. Most importantly, I found myself and reflected on my values and goals in life.

Overall, I would say that the expectations of my academic program abroad were accurate, considering the adversities I faced. I was ill for about a month or so. I saw multiple doctors in search of a diagnosis- I felt hopeless. I spent more time in the doctor’s office than attending classes. Luckily, my professors were very understanding and provided accommodations that allowed me to succeed. Navigating different healthcare systems was a nerve-wracking experience, yet I was proactive about it and received the medical attention I needed.

During my time in Spain, I was a victim of theft on two separate occasions. The first time, I got my gold chain snatched as I walked down the street. It was a sentimental gift that my mom gifted to me as a child. As you can imagine, I did not take this lightly. I suffered from severe anxiety in the days that followed. A few weeks later, I was out with my friends, and I got my phone snatched out of my hands. These incidents were major setbacks. I found myself phoneless in a foreign county. As you can imagine, I struggled to navigate the city and communicate with my friends and family. I had to problem-solve more since I was not able to use a phone as a reference. Going through these incidents was a very humbling experience. I am certain that these incidents have prepared me for anything to come.

My experiences abroad, whether good or bad, have led to a lot of personal growth. I am more resilient. I was able to excel academically and form new friendships in a foreign environment as I faced adversity. As a result, it refined my critical thinking skills, communication skills, and adaptability. I truly feel that I can call any place home if I put my mind to it. Being more than five thousand miles from home allowed me to finally prioritize myself without feeling selfish- something I struggled to do at home. Being on my own meant that every decision and action I made would affect me. I thought I was independent when I moved to college but moving abroad tests your independence on a whole other level. With that being said, I am considering moving abroad once again for graduate school or a professional career. Ideally, I would like to acquire a career that allows me to work internationally and travel. As for now, I am focused on graduating from UC Santa Barbara and continuing my internship in environmental consulting. I am excited to take everything I learned abroad and implement it in my daily life. My time abroad was truly a life-changing experience.