- For my step signature project, I did a study abroad trip. I traveled to Spain and took a class and lived with a host family in Madrid for a month.
- After my trip I felt like I became much more culturally aware. Living in the United States my whole life I assumed that the rest of the world was similar. After visiting and living in Spain for a month I was really able to notice some significant differences between the two countries. Being off on my own in a completely different country also helped me realize a lot about myself. I felt like I learned a lot about the world in general, how it works and also became more responsible.
- When living with my host family who spoke no English I had to figure out a way to function effectively. I had taken some Spanish classes which helped me communicate somewhat verbally but also had to find other ways to explain somethings including the use of google translate and even hand signals.
Another thing that was difficult at first was learning how to get from place to place and just navigating the public transportation system. It was difficult at first but after about a week of practice I think I got the hang of it. Whether it was a bus, the metro, taxi, or just walking on foot using google maps trying to read and follow the street signs I was able to get where I needed to go.
Another interesting difference was the customer service culture. In the United States most service workers rely on tips from people to make a steady wage for their job and helps give them an incentive to do a good job. In Spain it isn’t customary to tip your server or bartender or any type of customer service worker. Because of this reason I noticed that these workers didn’t feel as obligated to give you the best service possible, sometimes just doing the bare minimum. Even providing glasses of water in restaurants, didn’t seem to be as prevalent as it is in the United States and a majority of the time you had to pay for it.
- Overall this experience was amazing and I think it did several things that helped me grow as a person. I feel like a much more responsible and self-aware person. Also just learning about the history of the country and seeing how it functions today had made me much more culturally aware and just more knowledgeable about the world in general. I believe this experience will look good on a resume and make me more employable.