The end of the a good thing
Happy finals week everyone! Hope everyone is doing well and not stressing too much. I know this time is always a little tense for most people but just try about the fact that summer is right around the corner! The end of the year is always a bittersweet time for me, and this year more than ever. My study abroad is coming to an end and I’m preparing to go back to the United States.
On May 4 we took our last class excursion to Santander, a city on the northern coast of Spain. It was a nice way to end our excursions with a laid back trip to the beach. It seemed so unreal that we were already on our last class excursion. When I was riding on the bus I couldn’t help but recall our first trips, from Segovia to Tordesillas to the Canyon; each which their own little lessons and amazing sites. I am so happy I was able to travel around Spain so much and learn about many different places and aspects of the culture, geography and history. I feel like I truly understand all of Spain and I feel a connection to the culture now. Not only do I speak the language, but I also feel that I am even more than that. I feel that part of me will forever be a ‘Spaniard,’ and I love that so much. I know I will miss Spain everyday and await the day for my return.
On the last weekend before exams two of my friends and I took a trip to Tangier, Morocco. This was a trip that I’ve wanted to go on for a while and I can’t believe I finally got to go there. It was my first time to Africa and first time to an area primarily dominated by the Islamic religion and culture. It was a beautiful city and it really opened my eyes to a different part of the world that I had never experienced first hand like this. Our hostel was in the heart of the Medina, the old part of the city that is dominated with winding alleys, colorful markets, and promises something completely different then most travelers have ever experienced.
We spent the weekend shopping in the markets for rugs, spices, Moroccan oil, beautiful clothing, and gifts made from camel bone. I loved all the shopping and barging with the shop owners. Many people speak some of both Spanish and English so it was nice to use some of each language. I also got a lot of exposer to Arabic, which is a language I have a strong desire to learn. This weekend I mastered one Arabic word Shukran, which means ‘thank you.’ I was proud of myself no only with that, but just being able to travel in a country that I obviously stand out in.
The people were very nice and I never had any problem but we obviously looked like tourists but it was ok. It is clear after this study abroad that I am more than capable of traveling to a variety of places in the and I have no fear whatsoever of any place or situation I could encounter while traveling. I was kind of worried before I left to go to Morocco because many people warned me that it wasn’t safe and that I would have problems there. I realize that the people who say that have either never been there or just have very small minds. Just because something is different and not what you might be used to doesn’t mean it’s not safe. Never judge by stereotypes and never, ever make a judgment before you experience it yourself. I would highly recommend anyone and everyone to travel to places that might make you feel uncomfortable at first or places that are very different from where you are from. Everyone needs an eye opening experience every now and then, it keeps us aware and humble.
After those last little adventures it was time to come back and crack down on finals. Today I had half of my finals and I feel very confident about them, tomorrow I have the rest. I am excited to get my grades on Thursday, and then see how the transfer back to UW-Stevens Point. I can’t believe tomorrow is my very last day of class and finals and just school in Spain. I will never get over how fast this trip went and I don’t want it to end. I am definitely excited to go back to the United States and see my family and friends, but I know I will miss Spain deeply. Like I said, I feel that I am partially a Spaniard now and I will always hold this time in my life close to my heart.
Well the next time I write I will be back in Wisconsin and trying to get back to normal life and be all adjusted hopefully. I hope everyone finishes up this semester how they want, and good luck on finals to everyone!
Alexia Szabo, a junior majoring in accounting, Spanish and international studies at UW-Stevens Point, is blogging about her study abroad experience in Spain.