I should start off this post by explicitly stating that I am an incredibly blessed and fortunate girl, and I know that especially in this moment. I have returned from a trip in a place that felt like it was on the complete opposite side of the world. And I cannot stress this enough when I write: many people travel many places during their lives, but only a few get to travel during their college years and experience something that literally changes their lives; if you get the chance to change your life for the better, you should do it.
I remember when I first set off for Spain I felt both entirely relieved and jarred. Relieved because I was FINALLY going; Jarred because I was finally GOING. I was unsure of what this trip would hold, but I remember idealistically thinking that it could only be good things. I justified it with the thought that this trip could bring out only the best in me and thus could be only the best for me. For me, this trip represented and still represents the best of living — the ability to learn.
Once the trip began, of course, there were many ups and downs, lefts and rights. As soon as my group and I set foot on Spanish soil things became busy but in an incredibly fascinating and whirlwind kind of way. I remember Steven (Global Ed’s Director) telling us during our Welcome Orientation that at the beginning of this trip we were in our “Honeymoon” phase of this study abroad and that soon we would fade out of this feeling and just feel normal, if not a little sad, before (hopefully) re-entering an excited state at the end of the experience. However, if I can be honest, I never stopped feeling like I was on my “Honeymoon” — I liked Sevilla when I got there, but I loved it when I left.
If you get the chance to go to Sevilla you’ll be able to see right away why people fall in love with the city. To tell you all it is beautiful is not giving Sevilla justice. This place is absolutely breathtaking; no wonder people stay here forever. I can assure you all right now that this architecture, these streets, and this phenomenal fashion will continue to astonish and amaze you every single day that you are there as it did me while I was. More than anything, the memory that is most ingrained in my mind of Sevilla is the feeling of sunglasses behind my ears, the ache in my feet from walking around for miles and miles all around Spain, and the smile that rested on my face after every single very long but wonder-full days.
It is so strange how time flies so quickly while you are on your study abroad. You get caught up in your internship where the Doctors and Doctoras show you that medicine is much more than medical school, the nurses show you that a team is much more than its leader, and the hospital itself helps you realize that the work environment you wish to be in for the rest of your life really is where you belong. You get caught up in the country and the city and the beauty around you; visiting place after place: Seville, Italica, Cádiz, Granada, Madrid, Segovia, Córdoba. You get caught up in the whole lifetime of a month that you are there because you realize that family is so much more than blood and the bond of Spain will tie you together with people who were once strangers for the rest of your lives no matter where you all are in the world.
But then, it’s your last day, and you take a moment to remember. You take a moment to breathe and think and cherish. You take a moment for gelato and for walking and for sunsets and for the river and for parks and for dancing and for laughter and for light and for Spain and for this, your study abroad experience. And you are thankful, so very thankful for it all.
For me, a study abroad was much more than a traveling experience. It was THE experience of a lifetime. It represents memories made and dreams come true. If you get the chance to change your life for the better, you should do it.
-Shraddha Trehan, Medical Spanish and Internship, Summer 2019