It’s hard to believe that I just had my final weekend in Europe and that I only have one week left in Madrid. I spent my final weekend in Amsterdam with some friends from Pitt who are doing the Dublin IIP. I think it is so cool that I have a bunch of friends in Europe who I am able to meet in different places, it has made this program just that much more incredible. We arrived in Amsterdam around 9:45 on Friday night. After checking into the hostel we walked around for a while to get our first glimpse of the city. We didn’t stay out for long because we wanted to get some sleep and have enough energy for the next day, our only real day in the city.
On Saturday, we went to get some famous Amsterdam pancakes for breakfast. We went to a place called Moak and the food was absolutely incredible. After breakfast, we went on a canal cruise tour that took us to all of the famous parts of the city. The cruise began right outside of the Anne Frank House. It was really impactful to see this house because it made the story of Anne Frank feel just that much more real and was an impressive reminder of that history. After the cruise, we had an hour and a half until our tickets for the Moco Museum. The museum was a mile and a half from where we ended the cruise, so we decided to head in its direction and stop for food along the way. We stopped at a bagels and coffee shop thinking that it wouldn’t take much time, but we were wrong. We ended up having to ask for the bagels to go and slightly running to the museum. This made us look so American in the worst way possible: running with take out food, yelling out directions, and almost getting hit by cars, bikes, and trams. It was awful, but it was also hilarious. The Moco Museum is full of art by Bansky, the famous anonymous street artist. I have always loved his pieces of work and the messages behind them, so it was really fun to see them in real life. After the museum, we went back to the hostel to rest for about an hour before dinner. We ate at an amazing chinese restaurant that was recommended by one of my friend’s friends. We had one dish that was called a “Peking Duck Bao” and it was almost like the chinese food version of a hamburger, it had an orange-colored steamed bun with Peking Duck and other sauces and vegetables on the inside. We spent the rest of the night walking around Amsterdam and stopping anywhere that looked fun.
Overall, my time in Amsterdam was a great way to spend my final weekend in Europe. I wish I had some more time there because I feel like there was so much more left to see, but I know that I’ll find myself back there at some point in the future. But for now, I am back in Madrid and dedicated to making this the best last week possible. I always find it odd how much pressure time adds to things. Knowing I only have one week has made me extra motivated to see everything in Madrid and to go back to all of my favorite places at least one more time. I have also experienced this time pressure in my internship. Knowing I only have one week has encouraged me to be extra focused on my responsibilities so that I can have a stress-free last week here. I want to be successful in my internship, and to me that means completing work that fulfills what was asked of me and that impresses my boss, while also having time to explore the city and not stress about my work. However, just because that is what success in this experience means to me, that’s not what it means to everyone else.
During my experience in Spain, I have realized that people are more motivated by the success or the achievement of the mission of their work. At Manos Unidas, that means seeing progress in the growth and advancement of underdeveloped communities and the increase of the level of human rights for people around the world. It means being able to see every person’s hard work pay off and contribute to the larger goal. Manos Unidas is an exceptional example of the collectivist culture of Spain. Everyone is constantly working together, sharing experiences and ideas. It is important to each individual that the group succeeds and that they are able to help wherever help is needed. The success of this organization, and others like it in the industry, relies on the passion of its employees that will lead to visible progress.
As you can see by the explanation of success at Manos Unidas, success in Spain has a less individual focus than it does in the United States. Of course people have personal motivations for working, such as being able to support their families and enjoy extracurricular parts of life; however, the collective mission that they contribute to has more power in their decisions of how they will make the money to gain these opportunities than it does in the United States. I do not believe that values and missions of organizations are properly emphasized in the States. This motivation of making a contribution that you believe in to the workforce is my favorite aspect of Spain’s definition of success.
Understanding success in another culture is just one of the many ways that living in another culture has expanded my understanding of my own. These lessons are daily opportunities that I will miss greatly once I am back home. I hope to be able to continue to find them in different ways and to use them to increase my own success once I am back home.