As I can’t speak for everyone, I will be explaining the three lessons I learned through my study abroad experience that I can apply back in American society and help open the minds of those around me.
Helped Me Appreciate The Little Things
When I started living in Spain, I was incredibly nervous about a number of things such as the transition, my academics, and the fact that I missed my family back home. But as time passed, I began to understand the true meaning of studying abroad. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I had to take advantage of while it lasted.
Instead of worrying about my grades throughout my stay in Seville, I became more accustomed to walking around the city and enjoying the beauty that is present in nature. I took these moments to calm myself in times of anxiety and remind myself that I am lucky to be residing in such a gorgeous country and making memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. Because of this change in perspective, I now view studying abroad as one of the best decisions I have ever made and wish that I could return to Seville and stay for a longer period of time.
Gave Me A Clearer Vision of My Future
Before I studied abroad, my future was solely determined by a piece of paper. I had obviously chosen my major (Spanish Secondary Education), but I didn’t have much experience in the teaching field prior to my internship in Seville. More importantly, I’d only been given one class in my 12 years of learning the Spanish language that concerned the subject of conversation.
I knew from the beginning that this semester would be a test of my capabilities, but at the same time, it would answer a question that I’d had for some time. Do I really want to be a teacher? Fortunately, my work as a co-teacher affirmed to me that even with the challenges my major presents, the reward of helping students succeed and develop into more confident individuals is worth it. After my experiences in Spain, I am now 100% sure that I want to stay on this career path which can lead to the promotion of bilingualism in our diverse society.
Led Me On A Path To Happiness
Over these past three months, the biggest change, in my opinion, has been the growth in my level of positivity. I still have a lot of work to do before I fully grasp the concept itself, but the progress I have made is undeniable. Most of my previous negativity had stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t willing to trust my instincts. This obviously affected my academics, but the bigger issue still lied within. I wanted to become a more sociable person, but I always worried about how people would perceive me.
After a few months passed, with the help of a few friends who truly cared about my well-being, I came to the realization that I was holding myself back from true happiness. Before I could step out of my shell and bring out the more fun side of my personality, I had to do one simple task: love myself. This involved letting my worries go, and most importantly, understanding the positive qualities that define me and knowing that I have people who will be there to support my decisions and opinions. I now freely speak my mind, instead of standing in the back of the group while conversation ensues.
For those students who aren’t sure if they should study abroad, I can promise that it teaches you key lessons about life that you will never forget.
Brandon Fink is a student at Roger Williams University and was an ISA Featured Blogger. He studied abroad with ISA in Seville, Spain.