I don’t even know where to begin. The amazing summer I spent in Europe because study abroad completely turned my life upside down in the very best way possible. My time abroad was the best and most memorable time of my life. Everyone tells you that study abroad changes you, but what they don’t tell you is that the memories, feelings, and sites seep into every aspect of your everyday life. I haven’t and don’t think I will have a day when I don’t think about my study abroad experience.
In high school studying abroad was a far-off bucket list goal that would be swept under the rug when I got to college due to cost, time constraints, school commitments that I couldn’t leave for months on end, and the strong connotation that the world isn’t as safe as it used to be. Fortunately, The Terry Foundation is in the business in providing the resources for making student’s unlikely to be fulfilled dreams a reality. From the moment I found out about the optional Terry Study abroad stipend, I knew that I could have the study abroad experience I have always dreamed of with little financial burden. Anyone around me during my freshman and sophomore year at TTU knows I was planning my study abroad trip since I stepped on campus, and my trip did not disappoint.
The majority of my two and a half months in Europe was spent in Seville, Spain attending the Texas Tech Center taking Spanish and Honors classes. I cannot express how easy it was to fall in love with Seville. It was a true Spanish city with a bullfighting ring, an Arabic style palace, the largest gothic cathedral in the world, Christopher Columbus’s remains, flamenco shows every night, another castle with sprawling gardens, and the most beautiful plaza that you will ever see in your entire life. Despite getting to live in a city with so many beautiful monuments, my best memories were of simply walking down the street taking in the Spanish sun, taking full advantage of siesta time, spending time with my host mom and her sweet dogs, and the nights out on the town. However, I could not have created these memories without the other students in my programs. I made so many friends in both of my programs that I have kept in almost constant contact with even back at TTU. These are some of my most valued friendships and I couldn’t imagine study abroad without them. I even made many connections outside of my academic program that were very unexpected, but have also become very special to me.
Even though I wouldn’t have traded studying in Seville for any other place in the world, I did take advantage of the extra time I had in Europe to travel other cities. I actually started off my adventures in London then took a short trip to Paris. Next, after a few weeks in Spain I visited Rome and Portugal. During the week between my programs I traveled to Copenhagen to visit my favorite Terry mentee and best friend Rebekah for a few days then took a solo trip to Berlin, which was my personal favorite. During my second session I went back to Portugal and then headed to Morocco for a few days. Not only only get to gallivant around Europe but also had the opportunity to visit many cities and sites in Spain including Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo, Segovia, Malaga, Cadiz, the ruins at Italica, and even a bull farm where they raise the bulls used in the famous Spanish bullfights.
Unfortunately, sharing everything about my time abroad that would take up more pages than anyone would care read, but what my time abroad comes down to is that I am changed for the better because of it. I learned not only the content of the classes, but that there is so much left for me to discover about myself and the world around me. A few weeks ago I was reading and came across a quote that truly captured what it felt like to be captivated by the world abroad. Alena Smith wrote, “All we did, all day, was amble around the streets in this haze, this stupor, which was the combined effect of language immersion, too much liquor, and well - falling in love.” I definitely experienced each one of these things during my travels. I fell in love with the cities, the people, and the feeling that there might be something just around the corner that you never even knew you were looking for.