When asked, “Hey, how was your trip?” I’m often left either gagging on my own words attempting to summarize three months in Europe into a couple of coherent sentences, or I’m caught rattling off everything I did from start to finish without providing any tangible information that leaves anyone with a clue to the original question. It’s been a problem to say the least. To me what seemed like a simple and relatively direct question has proven to be a complicated and complex labyrinth of reflection below the surface.
While I was abroad I was constantly challenged by my surroundings because they were new and obscure from the familiarity and repetition at home. I lived fresh realities on a regular basis, often being forced out my comfort zone through participation, and was asked to learn not by reading a book, but instead by living an experience. It’s through these aspects that I found personal illumination. I felt more alive than I ever had when I was abroad.
So, after retrieving these lessons from a deep level of individual analysis, when someone asks me now, “Hey how was your trip?” I divert away from uttering extemporaneously. Instead, I say that there were high points and low points, points where I was ecstatic and those when I felt glum, and times where I was simply stricken with emotions I couldn’t fully comprehend. But through it all there were lessons to be learned nonetheless. When you are somewhere new, lessons seem to be everywhere. In the following presentation, I have narrowed my thoughts about my experience abroad into a sort of video/photo journal showing the different things I encountered and how they impacted me along the way. From the extensive landscapes of Iceland to the glistening lights of Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, to flags flying high above the individual regions of Spain, in each picture and corresponding journal entry exists a unique story and lesson.
I am majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Studies. I studied abroad in San Sebastian, Spain in Spring 2016.