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Three months ago, I left my friends and family in Chicago to set out for a new adventure in Barcelona. I was nervous, but I was very excited to see what studying abroad in Spain would be like. Although I have traveled internationally before, I had never been to Europe before coming here. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was nervous about the various culture shocks and/or homesickness that I would be facing.

When I arrived in January, I was able to adjust to all of the changes, and these culture shocks soon became a normal part of my life in Barcelona. It’s crazy to me how fast these past three months have gone by, and it feels very bittersweet to be leaving soon. I’m so sad to leave Barcelona, but I know I’ll be back one day.

My time in Barcelona has brought me countless memories and lots of new friends. Through studying at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, I was able to meet friends from Spain that I know I’ll stay in touch with and hopefully visit each other in the future. Along with these friends, I met a huge group of people from the University of Illinois, my home university, that I hadn’t known before I came to Barcelona. Now, I consider some of these people my best friends and I’m so thankful I met them while studying abroad. One of the most memorable nights abroad was going to the Bunkers with my friends and watching the sunset. We sat there for hours, and it ended up being one of the best nights I’ve had – it was the perfect sendoff.

Along with the amazing people I met abroad, I also had a lot of opportunities that allowed me to learn new things and grow as a person. My friends and I took every chance we had to travel and see different places around Europe. I was able to go to so many beautiful countries, such as Switzerland, Malta, Italy, and more, as well as traveling within Spain. We were able to meet people from all over the world and it was incredible getting to experience different cultures and languages. Because of studying abroad, I’ve gained independence, responsibility, and strength. I know I’m able to do more than I previously thought I could and I’m beyond thankful for this experience of a lifetime. I’m sad to go, but I know I’ll be back in Barcelona soon.

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