With the fresh wound of being forced out of my study abroad bubble yesterday, I am so grateful for this life-changing opportunity given to me. Before going abroad, I was a confident person paired with lots of uncertainty- which I know seems very contradictory. I was confident within myself but became very torn when it came to making decisions. Living in Madrid has allowed me to rely on my instincts and follow them without doubt. Going to Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and learning with locals has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and become self-assured with my communicative skills on an international level. The courses I took allowed my brain to go beyond my traditional American teachings and view subjects from a worldview instead. I feel as though these educational opportunities are not accessible to me in the United States, not because of educational values but the people within the class. I have never experienced such a culturally diverse environment within a small classroom and it was honestly refreshing. Everyone was able to set aside their customary ways of learning and engage in many different controversial and intellectual topics.
The dozens of amazing people that crept into my heart this past semester have become life-long friends with many memories to cherish. One thing I loved about going abroad without knowing anyone was the chance to connect with a variety of different people and personalities that I may have missed out on within the comfort of already having a companion. The friends I have gained from this experience have connected with me on a level I was not able to understand before going abroad. The vulnerability associated with not knowing anyone and the discomfort that is paired with it has allowed us all to become fast friends within the first few days of our program. I’ve made friends from California, Texas, Mexico, Columbia, France, and many other places- each bringing a different perspective into my life both personally and professionally.
Living in Madrid has taught me a variety of things about myself and the world that surrounds me. Some big aspects of the Spanish culture that I hope to bring back to Pitt Business are the importance of connections and happiness. The Spaniards value the connections they’ve made and push them further towards a more personal level, allowing their networks to become more connected throughout all parts of their lives. I’ve found that one of the main keys to success within a business is bringing in the balance of pleasure, it allows us to put forth our best efforts at work and strive to innovation in the fields we are passionate about.