I participated in an Education Abroad program for my STEP Signature Project. I spent the month of May in Madrid, Spain learning about its history, culture, and how it influences the world that we live in today.
On my study abroad trip I was introduced to new cultures, traditions, and history that I had not previously encountered. Traveling to a foreign country was daunting at first, not knowing the language and customs made me apprehensive before embarking on my month abroad. However, I quickly became accustomed to the countries traditions and changed my outlook on the history of Spain.
Previous to my study abroad trip to Spain I didn’t realize the constant and strong influence that religion had on the country. While abroad I learned that the three religions of Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism living and working together in many cities in Spain, due in large part to the geographical location of the country. Since three religions lived amongst each other there would occasionally be times of mass conversion and leadership changes. However, the citizens of different religious backgrounds managed to work and accept each others difference to find common ground. This was an important aspect of my education abroad because I developed a new outlook of the people around me back in the United States. I am now more accepting of different cultures and have come to realize that other countries appreciate diversity as well. This is something that I will carry with me in the future through my actions and decisions.
Embarking on a study abroad to a foreign country with thirteen other strangers was daunting at first. Not knowing the culture, the traditions, or the language very well were all challenges that I faced. However, I learned and grew from this experience, changing my view of the world around me. This transformation was in large part due to the people on my trip, the places we visited, and the hands on experiences from my education abroad.
The people on my trip were an important part of my transformation because they brought new perspectives and ways of thinking to the activities that we did. While adapting to the culture of Spain, we learned and grew together as a group, forming a bond that lasts to this day. Some of the things I learned with my group included navigating the metro, learning how to order a traditional lunch and speaking to locals. Without these common experiences I would not have been able to fully learn about the unique culture of Spain.
As a part of my May in Madrid program we were able to visit different parts of Spain in order learn more about the country as a whole. These trips and additional experiences were critical to my education abroad experience because we were able to tour more cathedrals and palaces that were of importance. Being able to see and be present in a place that was important to the formation of the Span was great. I loved having a hands on learning experience and believe that it enabled me to learn more about the subject.
The bonding and hands on learning that I was able to experience largely contributed to the lessons that I learned while abroad. Both aspects were able to open my perspective on Spain as a country and interacting with others. My education abroad experience has truly changed me as a person and the values that I uphold.
Through my education abroad I learned the values of trust, patience, and flexibility. I have learned to trust in the future and to think more optimistically about the people from around the world. I have also learned patience for different lifestyles from my own, and to embrace those that are different from me. Adapting to a different culture has also enabled me to be flexible in situations that are unfamiliar and to think logically. All of these principles will be valuable for my future experiences at Ohio State and in the workplace after graduation. The places and sights that I was able to see with my amazing group on my education abroad has transformed me as a person.