By Tania Silva, Illinois Wesleyan University
Today was a day where I was an emotional wreck from morning to night. I took my Nursing final this morning at 9am, and of course, I was so stressed as soon as I woke up. Once that was over with, my program had a farewell meeting/lunch and everyone shared their favorite pictures over the semester. Reflecting back on the four months I spent here, it was a wonderful opportunity to grow, learn, and change and something that I noticed in everyone that presented as well.
Being away from home for such a long time is an experience that I was fortunate enough to have. Although I miss my family and friends more and more as the days go on, I have been able to grown as an individual. Being “on my own” in a sense, has made me more adaptable to changes and willing to take risks. As I think about my first night at my homestay, I find it silly that I wanted to go home on day one because of a zucchini soup.
As I finished up dinner tonight with my host mom, I thanked her for dinner as usual, but something was different. Her typical phrase of: “Y mañana mas” (and tomorrow more) was different. This time, she changed it to, “Y mañana ya no mas”. This phrase had become so common to hear and say for the past 107 days that this threw me off. I never thought that something so minute would make me tear up as I came to the realization that I was leaving a place that I was able to adapt to and call home for the past four months. I realized as I was packing that my host mom will be alone in her homestay until the next set of students come in. I realized that I won’t be able to joke around at the dinner table about who should eat more dessert. But, I also realized that because of this program and because of people like my host mom, many students, like myself, are able to make Barcelona their home and form relationships that will last a lifetime.
Although I was hesitant on the first day, it would have been a tragic mistake had I decided to go home instead of staying and studying abroad. Because of that, I have grown to deal with what is put in front of me one day at a time. Tomorrow, when I get on the plane to leave Barcelona, I’ll say “Y mañana vivimos un poco más” (and tomorrow we will live a little more) and see where life takes me next.
Adeu Barcelona y hasta pronto ❤️
Are you a student who just returned from your time abroad and want to incorporate your Barcelona experience into your daily life in the U.S.? Read our four tips for managing reverse culture shock after returning home.