Reflections on Madrid – A Year LaterMadrid, Spring 2009

Before I went abroad, I never even considered what repercussions my trip would have on my life after I returned to the United States. Even had I done so, I don’t think I could have anticipated it.

It’s mostly minor things, really. Like being really tempted to hop on a plane to Madrid that’s leaving the Philly airport at the same time as my connecting flight to an accepted student day at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Minor, really.

I won’t say that my acceptances to Veterinary School were due to my bilingualism I gained from being abroad. While it’s a great quality to have and I love that my ability to use the Spanish language isn’t fading all too much, I’d really say that I learned a whole lot more from my experience abroad. I became much more confident in myself. The most immediate difference I noticed was that I suddenly felt I was an interesting person. That I had stories to tell, connections to make, and people to meet. I had never felt so capable, both socially and in my daily endeavors. Being forced to try to socialize and function in a different language made me overcome any hesitations I had about speaking to people. I became more aware of what was different about me, and how that made me unique and interesting. Overall, my desire for life increased too. I was always an outgoing, happy, interested person wanting to try anything available to me. But being abroad and traveling made me more capable of trying new things and going after exactly what I wanted to do without letting the fear of failure hold me back.

While I appreciate the comforts of the US, such as air conditioning and clothes dryers, I still want to go back to Spain pretty much every day. I miss the food, the language, the culture, the people, their attitudes about life… I miss it all. If I could live there, I would. But the best I can do for now is just bringing little pieces of Spain into my life when I can – some sangria here, tapas there. There’s really just nothing better.

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