A post by Barcelona SAE summer intern, Jessica Airey
Nobody likes to say “good-bye,” especially to a city that has impacted their life forever and totally stolen their heart. This week I reluctantly started to pack my things and cherish every last second I had left in beautiful Barcelona. This experience has changed me for the better in so many ways; more than just learning about Catalan culture, studying Spanish and gaining valuable internship experience, I discovered a lot of things about myself and grew in ways I didn’t necessarily anticipate.
Living in a foreign country and striving to succeed in a new environment taught me how to be flexible no matter how uncomfortable I may feel and keep a positive attitude despite the situation. I discovered a lot of habits and false assumptions I had developed due to growing up in America and never knowing otherwise. For example, the US work ethic sometimes overwhelms our ability to take our focus off of deadlines and bottom lines to spend a little more time just enjoying life and really connecting with other people. In Spain, I took long walks, savored flavors slowly, purposefully got lost and never looked at my watch or phone when I was talking to someone. I learned not to define myself by a job title or list of accomplishments. Of course studying abroad has a different impact on everyone, but rarely will you find such an opportunity to grow as much as a holistic person as stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring a different culture.
As St. Augustine is rumored to have said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” I’m glad to have added this chapter of Barcelona to my life story.