STEP Post-Project Reflection- Barcelona Abroad

  1. My STEP Signature Project was a study abroad program that took place in Barcelona, Spain. It lasted 32 days in which I stayed with a host mom for the duration of my program. I attended the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo in Barcelona to earn credit for my major, Spanish, at OSU.
  2. This abroad experience was my first time traveling outside the U.S. and especially traveling with neither friends nor family. I was nervous at first about navigating the airport, the streets of Barcelona, public transportation, being immersed in a new culture and language, as well as the differences in currency all on my own. However, the resources from school at OIA and from my ISA program leaders helped me make a smooth transition into the European lifestyle. My roommate and host mom I was paired with also helped with my transformation, and helped support my newfound independence in a new setting. It only took a few days before people would stop be on the streets asking for directions and I could easily communicate with them, as well as help someone else. My progression with my Spanish was the most significant transformation, and I’m very grateful for this change.
  3. My program’s main focus and my largest transformation was the academic side of my abroad experience. I was enrolled in two classes, Art and Architecture, and Spanish Literature, in which both classes were taught completely in Spanish. I needed these credits to apply to my major which I recently changed to Spanish. Luckily, I’ve been taking Spanish since middle school, but I had still wanted to improve my fluency and confidence in speaking the language. The day-to-day interactions with my professors and classmates helped me become much more confident in my Spanish language skills.I also had the opportunity to stay with a host mom which was a challenge at first, but probably the best decision I could’ve made abroad. The very first day I had trouble keeping up with the conversation, as she didn’t speak any English, but with each day I was more comfortable with speaking to her and getting to know more about her life. She taught me about her culture, favorite foods, favorite places in the city to visit, as well as kept me up to date on current events happening in the country. It was so interesting hearing her perspective on life as well as seeing how her daily schedule differed from mine back in the U.S. Communicating and interacting with her everyday taught me so much about respect for others as well as learning to do things a different way that I normally do at home.My favorite part of my abroad experience were the three scheduled excursions we took as a group with the other ISA students. We traveled to Sitges, Costa Brava, and Valencia which are all different cities in Spain. I have always wanted to travel around the world and this was a big stepping stone in getting to see beautiful towns, architecture, nature, and other people from around the world. We got to experience so many different types of food as well as see various museums, beaches, and even the largest aquarium in Europe. Having free time to explore on our own taught a big sense of independence as well as awareness of your surroundings as you always should keep safety in mind when traveling alone, but open-mindedness was also an important lesson to be learned.
  4. My main transformation of becoming more independent and confident in myself relates to how graduation is approaching this upcoming year and with that comes being a real adult and getting thrown into the real world. Being abroad taught me to trust my instincts and proved that I can do things for myself as well as have fun, which sometimes is hard when solely focusing on the academic sense of school. I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to academics and the lifestyle in Spain was very different than here, in which relaxation and “siestas” are sometimes much needed in life. However, it also still important to focus on school and I hope to use my Spanish language skills in my professional career, whether that be teaching it in a school or using it to communicate with clients if I become a veterinarian. The possibilities are endless, and that’s one main lesson I learned from this experience.

    La Sagrada Familia

    The water was perfect in Barca


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