As I’ve neared the end of other semesters, I have always wished that the time goes by faster and the vacation comes by quicker. This time, it’s different–I wish this final month went by much slower, giving me all the time I need to soak more Spanish sun, sleep for hours in parks, watch beautiful sunsets, travel around Europe, and eat more tapas. I wish every other day were like a weekend where I could roam around relentlessly, lose myself in nature, or travel somewhere to please my eyes and pain my feet.
Suddenly the same streets start to give a different vibe. It does not feel like I have been walking the same streets for the past ten weeks. Suddenly I get the urge to hop to all the stores, look at the interiors and hanging posters, and find bars with good tapas and gelaterias with delicious gelatos. As I sit on a bench in Plaza Mayor, I enjoy watching small dogs trying to run away from their leash, old couples taking pictures, students shouting at the top of their lungs, and busy restaurant tables. Oh, how beautiful this place is!
This place welcomes thousands of students like me; every now and then, people come and go. After I’m gone, I’ll probably not see the people I’ve met here during these couple of months. Not many will probably remember me too. But I’ll take all my experiences and memories with me. Each day I have spent here has helped me build a better version of myself; every lunch and tapas I’ve tried has given me hundreds of thoughts, and with every walk along the riverside, I have questioned myself so much, trying to understand myself better. These memories, these walks, interactions with people, laughter, and struggling to speak and understand Spanish will forever have a special place in me.
From trying to form proper sentences to conversing using different tenses, these ten weeks swiftly passed by. Layering with sweaters and jackets to walking in a t-shirt, these weeks have made me realize the importance of good weather. To all the random strangers I have exchanged conversations with in supermarkets, parks, bars, or just on the street, you all have amazed me with your friendliness, generosity, and sociability. I wish someday I could be half as kind of some of the people I have met.
As I set to embark on my new journey soon, I am glad that I chose to come to Salamanca. Will I enjoy in some other places more in the future? Maybe. But would the experience be the same as it was here? Probably not! Not only did I get to work on my Spanish, but I got to make memories, travel places, meet people, learn things, and, above all, realize how important it is to get outside the regular classroom to experience a different world. A one farther from the textbooks and class but near to life and the soul. Immense gratitude for everyone who played a role in making this study abroad experience successful.
Mukesh Bastola is a student at Soka University of America and an ISA Photo Blogger. He is studying with ISA in Salamanca, Spain.