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An Open Mind

Hi! My name is Gabriela and I am a rising sophomore majoring in English Literature and minoring in Spanish in Weinberg.

When I was first accepted into the Barcelona Language and Culture Program, I could not believe that I would be able to immerse myself in Spanish so completely. While my excitement grew by the day, my nerves began to impede the as the first day of the program drew near. Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and even though I knew that six weeks in Spain would definitely improve my Spanish language skills, I began to have doubts about my capabilities to communicate with native Spanish speakers and wonder whether people will actually understand me and if I will understand them. Would I be brave enough to attempt a conversation with a native speaker at the university? Would I pronounce my order correctly at a restaurant? After talking with my friends and family about my concerns, I realized that, while all of those scenarios are a possibility, they shouldn’t be something on my mind when receiving an opportunity like this. I am certain that I absolutely love to learn about different cultures and that Spanish is something I hope to one day excel at; that is what I should focus on and that is what made me so grateful as soon as I found out I would be in the program.

Something I frequently do to remind myself of what I’m about to experience is look up different places, foods, and lifestyles I may encounter in Barcelona to get myself excited. Although I have been out of the country before to Poland and Mexico, I think this experience will have a greater effect on me as a person since I will be going without my family. Doing a program like this will hopefully help me better understand the culture in Spain as well as convince me that I can challenge myself independently and survive. I always think back to my time studying abroad in Mexico; the memories I have from that trip and the appreciation I learned to have for the Spanish language made me search for another chance to further expose myself to new customs and cultures over these past years. I truly think that when I finally make it to Barcelona after all the chaos of packing and searching and stressing and goodbyes, I will remember why I love travelling so much and just how determined I am to speak Spanish.

Me in Mexico when I first began to love the Spanish language! (with nopales in the back!)


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