After reading my letter, pretty much everything that I thought would happen did end up happening. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and corporate impact strategies in school, I didn’t pick up that much Spanish, I saw a lot of people pronouncing their “S’s” like “C’s”, and I traveled a lot. One of the things that did surprise me is something I wrote about in my last blog post, which is that Spain and other European countries are not as unified as they seem. A thing that I and my parents are still shocked about is the immense amount of money that I spent on this trip. One thing I will say is that if I could do this whole thing again, I would definitely budget my money a little better.
Now that I have returned to the US, the whole experience feels like it was a dream. I can’t believe that I learned as much as I did and had so much fun. We used every hour of the day to the full extent. I wouldn’t say though that there were many stereotypes that changed since the time I got there and when I left. People in Barcelona and other parts of Spain take these siestas during the day, and between the hours of 3-5 PM it can be very difficult to find a restaurant to get cooked food. I would say that this trip solidified and increased stereotypes that I had about Spain.
Although I loved Spain and Europe, traveling to all these different cities only demonstrated to me that the United States is the best country in the world. It has given me the perspective to realize why we live in the best nation. Although many western countries consider themselves free, this is not completely true. For example, Spain has locked up people from the Basque country because they oppose the government in the same way that Russia locks up political opponents, but nobody talks about it in the same way. We learned from one of our guides that the Basque people have a considerable amount of control of the area that they govern in the Northwestern part of Spain, but Madrid attempts to control them by not allowing them to control their own ports. This is done so that their people cannot become too wealthy and potentially threaten Spain-proper. I get that a lot of people disagree with Trump’s policies, but the fact is that we have institutions in place that stop our leaders from doing truly bad things, while other countries do not.
The only challenge that I’ve had since coming back to the United States is jet lag.
Being abroad has reaffirmed what career path that I would like to go down. I can’t assume where I will be in ten years, but for the next few years, I definitely want to stay in investment banking and see where it goes from there.