I would have never guessed that my abroad experience would be cut short because of a pandemic. When we first got sent home I was so angry and sad, I really didn’t understand the extent of this virus. But I now know that it was a decision that had to be made and I am now safe with my family in New Jersey.
Coronavirus spread so fast. It really hit me how serious it was when me and my friend went to Florence, Italy around the time that the country first started getting bad. We flew in Bologna, Italy which is a lot more north than Florence. When we arrived, we got our temperature takin by doctors in full medical suits. I was shocked, and honestly a little scared because I really did not think it was that bad. However, my time in Florence was amazing. We left on a Monday and about 2 or 3 days later Italy was flooded with cases. We literally just made it out. The next weekend I went to Paris and the same thing happened. I had so much fun. We visited the Louvre and a bunch of other tourist sites. I left on a Monday and on Tuesday France closed the Louvre because of the increase spread of Coronavirus.
Everything went down-hill from there. 3 days after France, my friends and I were celebrating my 21st birthday, MY 21 BIRTHDAY, when we got the email about being sent home. We cried for hours. We had to scramble to try and find a flight home, cancel all of our trips, email our program, email our professors, it was the worst day ever. But it was for the best. Once we figured out all of our travel plans, I got to spend the next couple of days hitting every inch of Madrid. Trying to take in everything I didn’t already see. It was an amazing last couple of days. My friend and I flew home to Newark, NJ on a Tuesday and that was the end of my abroad trip.
Obviously, I am heartbroken that I had to leave Madrid but I had an amazing 6 weeks. Even in a couple of weeks I grew as a person. I became independent. Living in a new country with a different language forced me to figure things out by myself. I adapted to the new environment, made new friends, improved my Spanish, learned the local culture, flew to countries alone, and so much more. I would have never been able to learn these things if I had not gone abroad.
The thing that I am most proud of is how much food I tried. If you know me you know that I am a picky eater. I knew I couldn’t have this mentality when I went abroad so every time I had an opportunity to try something new I did, even re tried things I didn’t like. My pallet expanded so much in just a few weeks. Once again, I know that I would have never tried some of the foods I tried if I had not gone abroad.
I learned so much and gained so many experiences. I wish that I could’ve stayed the whole time because I know I would’ve learned so much more. My abroad experience was the best time ever and I can not wait to visit Europe again. Madrid, you are my second home. Thank you Pitt for giving me this amazing experience that I will never forget.