For my STEP Project, I used my money to go on the Spain Global May trip through the Office of International Affairs at Ohio State. This trip took take place in Madrid where we took a 3 credit hour class relating to the history and culture of Spain. The program took place from May 9th through June 4th.
For myself the Spain Global May trip was a very transformational experience. Growing up I have had the opportunity to travel to many different places, however before this trip I had a hard time imagining actually living in a different country. Through having the opportunity to spend an entire month in Spain, specifically Madrid, I was able to get a glimpse of what it would be like to live there and what it was like finding my way around a city on my own. The transformation that took place for me was figuring out that with the help of keeping an open mind I could now picture myself living abroad in the future.
There are several different aspects of my trip that led to this feeling that I could live in a different country. The first aspect of this trip that led to my feeling more confident living in a different country was being responsible for finding my way around using the public transportation systems. In the beginning of the trip, using the buses, taxies, and metro were a bit confusing which made for stressing situations. However, after about a week we all became very comfortable with knowing how to get from where we were to where we wanted to go. Gaining this confidence aided in my transformation.
Another aspect of this trip that led to this change was being put in situations where I had to overcome the language barrier. Being someone who knew very little Spanish coming into Spain, it was definitely more challenging trying to talk to the locals. I struggled with ordering my food, asking questions to the workers at our dorm, and asking for directions. At first these experiences were discouraging, however seeing how much I was able to improve my language skills within the month led to me believing that I could thrive living in a different country.
The last aspect of the trip that led to my transformation was the relationships I built with my professors and graduate TA’s on the trip. During the trip I had the chance to get to know all four of the Ohio State teachers that came on our trip who have all spent at least a year living abroad. Through hearing about their experiences and asking questions I developed a more open mind to the idea of living abroad.
This transformation is important for a few reasons. The first reason is that having an open mind at all times is important for building relationships whether at school, work or in everyday personal life. As a business major, building relationships is a vital skill in order to achieve success within any company. Another reason why this change is significant is that it opens up opportunities for me to explore working abroad which could lead to great business opportunities in the future. Overall I am very thankful to have had this great experience.