“I believe in endings that should suggest our stories always continue.” —Lauren Oliver
Staring at my half-filled suitcase, I try to keep this quote in mind instead of denying that my semester in Seville has almost come to an end. It is important to walk away with a notebook full of memories but it is even more important to utilize the things we learned for life’s next stop.
For me, one of the most crucial things I’ve learned is how to be a citizen of the world, not just a citizen of where you’re from. I think a lot of the time we don’t really know what’s going on outside of our own country. Even more, sometimes we don’t realize what’s going on outside of our own little world. Especially being in college, which is most certainly a bubble.
I don’t think we take enough time to look outside of ourselves, myself included.
Look around. Ask questions. Listen.
But don’t just take my word for it.
I spoke with my fellow classmates and friends from the CIEE Communications, New Media and Journalism program to help me explain just how special Seville has been this semester, and the things they will take away forever.
Karen McConarty, Villanova University:
“I thought the biggest culture shock would come from interacting with local Spaniards, but really it came from meeting other Americans. I never realized how similar and dissimilar we are at the same time.”
“Advice to future study abroad-ers: When you’re scared, find the similarities. When you’re bored, find the differences. This is a good rule of thumb for traveling in general. As a side note, there are always more similarities than you expect between your home country and the place you are currently living.”
Marcela Hawkins, Elon University:
“What hasn’t study abroad taught me? Aside from the obvious cultural lessons, new experiences and exposure, I’ve learned about myself and have grown in my independence. I learned that along with the amazing experiences of travel comes exhaustion!”
“Most importantly, my time in Seville has taught me that you don’t need to travel to new places every weekend to learn or to have incredible experiences. No matter where you are there is so much to see and experience if you just look up and open your eyes from a different perspective. Just walking down the street can be different every time if you look around and take the time to take everything in!”
Debbie Estrada, Indiana University:
“It’s been a very rewarding semester in Sevilla. I can’t wait to really process it all. Great times, good friends and beautiful places!”