Wow, it blows my mind that in eleven days I will be on an eastward-bound plane to Madrid, Spain. Since the eighth grade, I have dreamed of studying abroad. I feel immensely blessed to have this opportunity to stay in Spain this fall. Last spring semester, I was supposed to be in Madrid, but I unfortunately had to turn it down due to financial obligations. Thankfully, I found another program through USAC that my scholarship would cover. For four months, I will be living with a host family in Alicante, a beautiful city on the east coast of Spain. I cannot express my excitement to really experience the culture and people of such a wonderful country.
Since going on a mission trip to Mexico City in fifth grade, I have had a passion for the spanish language and the hispanic culture. I hope to incorporate Spanish into my life now and in the future. Although I am not yet fluent, I think that a few months of living with a Spanish-speaking mom will guide me in the right direction. One of my excitements of studying in Spain is to live with a host mom. I don’t know any better way to become totally immersed in the city and its culture than to live with a native. I know she will teach me many things, and I only hope that I remain open to what she has to offer. Plus, who can really say no to home cooked meals every day?
My love for God has also directed me towards the hispanic community. The best part of my summer this past year was a mission trip to Nicaragua with my church back in Wisconsin. For a week, we stayed at a medical clinic in La Esmeralda, a city in the Nicaraguan mountains. We spent our days helping the local church and medical clinic, as well as reaching out to the local community. Without as much of a barrier language compared to the rest of my team, I was able to connect to the people on a much deeper level. I love getting close to people and hearing their stories and opinions in life. If becoming fluent in Spanish will help me form more of these connections, I will do my best this fall to accomplish my language goal.
Finally, adventure drew me to Spain, and to Europe. I dream of traveling around the world throughout my life, and Europe has always been the top of the list. While I will definitely enjoy my time in Alicante, I am already itching to travel to other parts of Spain and Europe. There is so much to see and experience, and every place is unique. This is my chance to explore a land that many may not see, and I want to take advantage of it. My hope is that I say yes to more, and that I leave in December with few or no regrets. Thank you to USAC, the University of Alabama, and all my loved ones who have supported me on this upcoming journey. See y’all in the spring!