The End of a Journey

I am about to arrive back in Madrid for the last time after traveling around Europe with my family for two weeks. I would highly recommend this if your family likes to travel, it was a great way to end my program and will give me an easier transition back into my normal life. Looking back on my four months here it seems like I just arrived. The old saying “time flies when you are having fun” definitely makes sense now. I am a little jealous of some of the friends I met here who are staying another semester or traveling to a new city while I have to return to regular classes in less than a week.

However, I am still amazed at all of the places and experiences that I was able to witness while abroad. From visiting crazy cities like Amsterdam to small towns such as Chamonix I saw a little bit of everything. While with my family on a tour of Barcelona, I was talking with our guide Joao about how special this trip really was and what I learned from it. He said that being forced to live in an unfamiliar place with a different culture broadens your perspective on what kind of life you want to live. I could not have agreed more. In the U.S. my friends and I often discuss the general guideline of success of going to college, getting a degree and going into the workforce for some major corporation as a lot of my colleagues in the business school have done. Now, this is still a great accomplishment and I know many people who really enjoy their jobs at their respective companies. However, I got to meet a lot of people here who made their own paths and have lived incredible lives filled with adventure, something that often gets left behind in everyday lives. I often asked these people why they chose this path instead of others that offered more money or leisure and the answer was always: “because I love it”. Most of them had also been through many careers and failed before ending up at their dream job. The biggest lesson that Europe taught me is that as long as you are passionate about what you do you can forge your own path.

I cannot be more grateful to my parents and the University of Pittsburgh for giving me this opportunity. Studying abroad is not an option for many students whether it be for financial reasons or due to their course load. I will forever remember all of my friends that I made out here and hope to return to Madrid after I finish my studies. It is an incredible city that anyone can enjoy. For sports fans, the soccer games have the most passionate fanbase I have seen for any sport and the Champions League game I was able to see was a dream come true. Food fans, the tapas culture that Spain is famous for gets applied not only to Spanish food but to all kinds, as I was able to enjoy at the Thai tapas restaurant down the street from my apartment. For the more artistic people, it is almost impossible to visit every exhibit and there are new concerts every day to go and see. Finally, if you just like to have fun with friends, Madrid’s nightlife scene is second to none. Thank you, Madrid, for all that you showed and taught me over these four months, and I can’t wait to see you again.

Hail to Pitt and Hala Madrid!

-Casey