Today’s post wraps up our spotlight on SBCC’S Fall 2017 program in Madrid, Spain. Student blogger Rachel Sevy looks back on her time in Madrid, how it has changed her life, and the poignant memories she leaves behind as she returns back home. We wish Rachel and her classmates the best of luck as they return to California.
Growing up, traveling had always been one of my favorite experiences. Exploring new cities makes me feel like a little kid again. Being in a new environment is one of the most exciting feelings for me because I am out of my comfort zone and have new things to experience. In Elementary and High School, I always looked forward to having a chance to visit Europe. Having spent my fall semester in Madrid, I’ve had lots of time to reflect on my experience. I can’t believe it is already my last week here, nor can I believe I am finishing a semester abroad. I have wanted to do this since I was a little girl and I am so thankful that I have had this opportunity at only 19 years old.Exactly a year ago, I had decided to come home for my spring semester. I was really struggling with anxiety and felt that it was what I needed to do for myself. If you’ve read the first blog post I wrote, then you know how and why I decided to study abroad. This trip has been exactly what I needed at this time in my life. The many experiences have taught me life lessons that I would not have learned by being at home, and my new friends have helped shape new characteristics in me.
As a group, we complement each other more than we realize. Because we are only 10 people, we quickly became one big family. We laugh and argue just like every family does, but I’m very thankful for everyone, particularly my roommates; they shaped this experience for me. I feel that every person has taught me a lesson I needed to learn before going home and I appreciate all of them.
Having the opportunity to travel all over the continent of Europe has expanded my mind, just like all of my family and friends back home told me it would. Seeing new places, meeting new people, and hearing their stories has humbled me and reminded me that any problem I ever face is a lesson in disguise. Becoming a part of new cultures, even if it was only for a weekend, has shown me new ways of life that I hope to adopt back at home.
Studying abroad has helped me look at life more positively. Before coming to Spain, I was trying to work on being more positive even if it was hard, and here I found that being positive was no problem at all. There was no reason to be negative about anything, every day was a new adventure. Whether it was trying new food, walking around the city, exploring a new park, or simply wandering and spending time with my friends, every day was a pleasure.
My teachers, Elsa de Giovanni (Film Studies) and Jon Snyder (Spanish Culture) made my classes so engaging. Every Thursday in Jon’s class, we would either explore a new district in Madrid or visit a museum. He made our class feel like it wasn’t even a class. We were learning but we weren’t sitting at our desks, reading from textbooks. We were out in the city, seeing for ourselves the history that we were learning about. In Elsa’s class, we would watch movies and point out scenes where we saw the techniques we were studying. Elsa and Jon both made my classmates and I feel like we had friends in our teachers.
My internship was another important aspect of my experience here. I would spend 3 hours every Monday through Thursday at Central Joven. All of the women I met there helped me with my Spanish and made me feel a part of the organization. I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity and couldn’t be more grateful for being matched with them. Every teacher, friend, and coworker has made this experience for me.
I am going to miss Madrid very, very much. The city has become a new home for me and I will keep these experiences very close to my heart. I hope to come back as soon as I can; I would love to transfer to a university here. I was planning on minoring in Spanish before I came here, but now I am definitely set on becoming fluent. I have met so many people here who speak 3, 4, and even 5 languages, and it has really inspired me.
I am so thankful and appreciate all of the effort that went into this program! Everyone at ACCENT and SBCC, thank you, your hard work didn’t go unnoticed. You affect students’ lives drastically by making these programs happen. I am so glad I decided to be a part of this program. I have made unforgettable memories and I know I am going home a much happier and more mature person than I was when I got here. For anyone who is considering studying abroad, take advantage of the opportunity.
~Rachel Sevy, SBCC Madrid
Be sure to check back this coming Spring, when students from SBCC’s Creative Writing, Psychology, and Italian Language program in Rome will be sharing their experiences!