Monday, July 1
The long flight back to the States was a little strange because since we travelled with Iberia again, it didn’t feel like we were actually going back to America! All of the announcements were still in Spanish and the flight attendants spoke Spanish. Besides sleeping, I had a lot of time to think about the trip and what had happened in the past month! Even though we had only been in Salamanca for four weeks, I still felt as if I got a complete study abroad experience. I had definitely seen and learned enough to be satisfied with the short time I was there. I was a little nervous signing up because of the price, but all of the money I saved for the experience was definitely worth what I gained. I think the key to my happiness with the program was keeping an open mind, having a positive attitude, and always staying thankful.
I am looking forward to travelling to other Spanish speaking countries in the future because I feel a lot more confident in my speaking abilities. I think before this trip I also underestimated the value of travelling as a lifelong hobby. I am glad I took the time to improve my Spanish because it is the 2nd most spoken language in the world and may very well pass English in my lifetime. Knowing a new language will be extremely valuable as a health professional. I feel like traveling to Spain opened up a whole future of new adventures for me. I am contemplating using the year after I graduate to get involved in medical volunteer work in a South American country. I am also looking forward to continue volunteering at a non-profit clinic in Phoenix. I speak Spanish to the patients but in the past I normally only ask them routine questions instead of initiating further conversation with them. Now I can understand everything the doctors are saying to the patients and more comfortably converse with the patients.
I realize that acquiring vocabulary is important to speaking and I have been reading Spanish books, magazines, and newspapers to learn new words. Before, doing this seemed like a burden but now I can read in Spanish for enjoyment. I kept a tiny notebook in Spain of little phrases and words I learned while in class and at the homestay.
I was sometimes a bit closed off in highschool. I have become a lot more self-assured throughout college, so I was ready to have new experiences in Salamanca and begin a new page of my life. After meeting people from all over the world and speaking a second language, the insecurities from my past disappeared. I used to be overcautious when speaking and trying new things. Being on such a short study abroad trip has made me realize that too many opportunities are thrown away with hesitation. You have to take chances right as they come, and if you wait till “the time is right” it will usually be too late. Embracing discomfort is a good thing. I am incredibly blessed at this point in my life and can’t wait to see what new adventures lie around the corner:)