I can’t believe my study abroad semester is over! Studying abroad and living in Madrid, Spain, for four months was an incredible opportunity. I loved every minute of it and already miss it. I’ve found after being back in America that I miss taking the Metro and walking everywhere. I’ve missed walking through the streets and being surrounded by tall buildings. While in Madrid, I missed driving and singing in my car. However, after driving around, I would take the walking and public transport lifestyle in a heartbeat. I was able to immerse myself in the Spanish culture, take on the lifestyle, and meet so many people from different part of Europe this past fall. While in Europe, I traveled to twelve different cities. This opportunity to try new foods, experience the cultures, and expand my knowledge of Europe was incredible and something I will never forget. This past semester gave me the travel bug, and I’m already anticipating my next Europe trip.
One thing I noticed and learned to love was the slow-paced lifestyles of locals lived. This lifestyle carried over to businesses. For instance, waiters at restaurants would come to your table, take your order, deliver it, and leave. The restaurant staff never rushed you or left the check on the table like they do in America. My friends and I could sit in a restaurant for three or four hours and never feel like the waiter wanted us to leave. Another different way restaurants conduct business differently is a meal is never split the check unless you ask, and when you do ask, the waiter has you tell him what you owe rather than calculating it himself. Another part of business that is so important in many European countries is the ability to speak multiple languages. In Madrid, most workers were able to speak Spanish and English very well and switched between languages with each new customer. As I traveled to other European countries, I was astounded that some people were able to speak three languages. Knowing multiple languages is an important factor given that each country is Europe has different cultures and languages.
My life in Madrid was so different than my life back in Texas. Each has its pros and cons. I will never forget this incredible opportunity. These last four months have been some of the best of my life. While I was able to learn about the Spanish culture, I was able to learn more about myself along the way. Madrid will always hold a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to go back!