Goodbye Spain, Hello New Perspectives

It blows my mind that in just a few weeks I will say goodbye to the place that I have called home for the past five months. The time has passed so quickly and yet I know that the memories I have had here will last a lifetime. Despite the countless laughs, lifelong friendships, and cultural trips that I have experienced here, what will forever be the greatest learning experience from this is applying the knowledge that I have gained from a different political system. As a political science major, I am constantly analyzing our current political situation in the U.S. With that being said, it’s difficult to take a step back and analyze it from afar when you’re living right in it. However, being overseas and living under a different political system and observing a different political culture has inspired me, given me a new perspective and helped me gain clarity about different policies that are not widely used in the U.S. I was blessed to be able to experience the political culture here in Spain by living with a host family and having the opportunity to ask questions about anything related to politics. Making friends here has allowed me to have conversations regarding differences and similarities between the U.S. and Spain. Taking a class about the system of the European Union has allowed me to comprehend it in depth. I have been able to experience not only living in a more socialist country than the U.S. (where I saw for the first time free health care being practiced), I also witnessed the women’s march, protests in Catalunya, presidential debates, and elections in Spain and will experience the EU elections coming up soon. Being able to learn about a different country’s political system has also allowed me to realize how closed in I am in just U.S. politics. What I mean by this is that because the U.S. is so huge and is such a big player in world politics, it’s hard to become invested in learning about the politics in other countries. However, living in Spain has led me to understand the importance of having a well rounded knowledge of world politics. All in all, Spain, you have taught me so much. About my myself, language, culture etc. I will miss you greatly. The tight cobblestone roads, marvelous cathedrals, wonderfully friendly locals, and countless more things. But you have more importantly made a big impact on my educational journey. This semester abroad has definitely exceeded my expectations and I have learned so much. Although I will say goodbye soon, I can definitely say that my experiences here will play a role in my studies and future career forever. Spain, thank you.

All photos courtesy of author