Abroad Experience in Barcelona: Spanish Language, Liberal Arts, and Business

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

For my STEP signature project, I participated in a study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain. My program was focused on Spanish language, liberal arts, and business. I attended the Universitat de Pompeu Fabra and took classes pertaining to those subjects in order to complete my international studies minor and fulfill my history general education class requirement. The goal of my study abroad experience was not only to learn and complete my minor but, also to immerse myself in another culture and acquire life skills.

What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

This experience changed the assumptions that I had about the world prior to traveling to a different country. Before my study abroad, I had never been to Europe and I had no idea what to expect. The only assumptions that I could make about where I would be living for three months was based on what I had seen of the area in movies.

Another transformation that I went through during my STEP experience, was the transformation of confidence in myself. I developed a sense of self certainty and self-awareness because I was in a foreign situation and had to have new experiences on my own.

What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?

Many factors led to my transformation while in Spain. Firstly, I had never been to Europe before traveling there for my study abroad and the move was a big adjustment for me. The way of life in Spain is very different than it is in the United States. In a lot of ways, seeing how people lived in Europe changed my assumptions about the rest of the world. I thought Spain would have many siestas and be relatively underdeveloped compared to the US. When I got there, I realized that I was SO wrong about this. Spain, especially Barcelona, is very developed and modern. Also, almost no one in Barcelona takes a siesta.

I also gained a lot of confidence due to my study abroad experience. I had the opportunity to travel around to many countries while I was in Spain and all of the countries that I went to spoke another language than I did. It was stressful at first to be in uncomfortable situations where I had to communicate with people who couldn’t always understand me. However, as time went on, I gained more confidence in myself and was able to talk to people and get to places on time.

Additionally, I  gained confidence in myself by making friends and creating relationships while in Spain. When I first went on my study abroad, I did not know anyone, and I was very nervous to leave the comfort of my friends and family back home. However, I found that it was very easy for me to make relationships and form bonds. This made me feel good about myself and my ability to be in a new situation and adapt to the circumstances.

Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

This transformation was very beneficial for my life because it reassures me about my future. I will be graduating this coming year and I will more than likely have to move to a new place to start my career. I want to use my degree to lead a successful career in marketing or sales after college. This means I will probably have to completely change my environment in order to work for a company. This study abroad experience really reassured me that I will be able to adapt to a new environment and be successful.

It really pushed me to go outside my comfort zone and make connections with people and it was a great indicator of how I could do that same thing in the future while perusing a career.