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.
Even after the last blog post and after my plane landed in the United States, it is still hard to believe that I have left Spain. The fact that I am still in disbelief that I have left my host country relates to my biggest surprise over the course of the experience. For you see, the biggest surprise I encountered did not immediately sink in until I had arrived in the United States. I did not at all expect how easy I would fit in the Spanish culture, even coming from a Latin American background. Now that I have returned to the U.S., this experience makes me excited about my next opportunity to be back in Spain.
Before I knew it the semester sped by and now I’m back in America. I can’t even believe how quickly time flew and could not have predicted how much Barcelona would feel like home to me by the time I left. Leaving Barcelona is definitely bittersweet. There are so many things I’m going to miss about the city, like its delicious food and proximity to such amazing culture. I am going to miss how, in a day, I can wander the narrow streets and alleys of the old gothic quarter, but then walk to the beautiful beach and boardwalk, and walk down the busy street “Las Ramblas.” I’ll miss how easy it is to travel to other countries and my weekly exposure to different cultures. I’ll miss sitting on my back terrace on sunny afternoons reading my book and relaxing, looking at the surrounding apartment buildings with views of clothes drying on hanging racks everywhere I looked.
There’s many sayings about Irish luck, but it is most commonly expressed post-ironically. Like this week for example has been one of the best weeks for weather. Unfortunately, this nice weather coincides perfectly with exams. All the day trips that I had reserved for these gorgeous cloudless days (still mid 50s though) will land on the days when I am fastened to a desk. And, I can almost guarantee that by the time I finish my last exam, the weather will almost certainly return to overcast and rain. Another example of this could be mistaking the deadline for this post to be this Sunday as opposed to midnight last night. Regardless, it’s the luck of the Irish and I have become all too familiar with it. This week has been filled with studies and trying to prepare for my upcoming exams this week. It’s finally time to remove all distractions from my everyday life—so that’s probably another reason I why I missed the mark on this deadline.
The other day, a younger friend from home reached out to ask for advice about studying abroad. She’s applying to study in Florence next spring through a program at her school, the University of South Carolina. I immediately began inundating her with tips – go here, but not there; eat this (and a lot of it); save money by adopting these practices – to the point where I think she felt a bit overwhelmed. Similarly, one of my best friends is considering studying abroad next year, so I have taken it upon myself to persistently pester her with words of encouragement on why she should, and why she should choose Italy as the destination.
It is amazing how quickly the semester has flown by. I have less than a week left in Denmark, and I feel like I just arrived! As I reflect on the past four months, I am so grateful for the time I have spent in Europe. Saying goodbye will definitely not be easy. In one of my classes we have discussed endings all semester, so this week we focused on ending this abroad experience. The teacher suggested that we visit all of our favorite places a final time to say goodbye. With under a week left in this amazing country, I am struggling to narrow down all of the places in Copenhagen I want to visit before I go.
It’s been a week since our classes ended. My flight leaving Spain isn’t until May 17th, so I’ve got another ten days or so until I head home. I have, of course, taken this free time as an opportunity to do some last minute traveling while I’m still here in Iberia.
These first few days off I’ve spent with my mom, who’s come to accompany me in my travels. This is her first time in Spain, so I’ve been taking her on a “highlights” tour of Spain–Madrid, Cuenca, Valencia, and Barcelona over ten days.
I would miss the exchanges and the international master students. I am repeating myself here from a couple posts ago. But again and again throughout the semester I would be glad to study among people who have lived absolutely incomparable lives. Meeting people who are completely different from each other has been the most valuable and unique thing about HEC. (I would like to be more specific here, but it would take too long to describe this international mix phenomenon)
I have been home for nearly a week now, and have had time to reflect on my semester abroad. I arrived in JFK with mixed emotions- sad to be leaving my home and new friends in Barcelona, but excited to come home to the things I am used to. I wondered around JFK, killing time before my connecting flight, feeling a sense of relief that the voice over the loud speaker was talking in English, I could read all of the newspapers and magazines, and prices were in dollars. It was refreshing to walk into a store and not have someone glance at my hair color and height (I am six feet tall) and immediately know I was a tourist.
I’m leaving tomorrow!!! How scary is that? It feels like these four months absolutely flew by and I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the fact that I’m actually going home. My bags are packed, my room is clean, and I had my last dinner with some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of spending four months with. I’m excited to go home and see my family, sleep in my own bed, and get into a routine; however, I’m not so keen on leaving Copenhagen. I’m not sure the next time I’ll be back and I feel like I’m scrambling to say goodbye to everything I love so much here.