I actually cannot believe that the program is over, 2 months went by so fast. Final blog!! Here is my brief rundown: I lived in apartment 3D with my wonderful host mom, Amparo. I woke up most days by 9:45, showered, ate breakfast, and took my mornings to explore the city. I visited the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (my favorite!), the Reina Sofia, and the National Museum of the Natural Sciences. I explored neighborhoods, I love Malasaña. I joke with my friends that all roads lead back to Malasaña because somehow, we always end up there. I traveled over a few weekends to Valencia, Bilbao, and Barcelona. I took day trips to Toledo and Segovia. I relaxed in Retiro and swam in the pool at Casa de Campo. I watched the sunset at the Templo de Debod almost every day coming back from work. I took the 10 metro every day at 1:30 up to Alcobendas where I worked at Centro NEO with the most amazing kids. I got choked up during my last week saying goodbye, I will miss these kids (I can’t lie, I won’t miss all of them…). I would return on the 8:30 train back to the city center and reach right as the sun set. My hours were long and weird, I worked at a different time than all of my friends, but there was the added benefit that at the end of each day, I knew I would be walking through a park right as the sun was setting. I still have some more time here in Spain, my brother is reaching tomorrow (eek!!) and we are going to trek through the Pyrenees for 4 days which is going to be awesome I am so excited. Then, the rest of my family is coming to Madrid, and I get to spend some much-needed time with them. After they leave, I have one more week before I return to the states. I am going to try to hit the rest of the cities I wanted to visit before I head back. My plan is a tour of southern Spain: Málaga, Grenada, and Sevilla. I am sad to leave Spain, I feel really comfortable here and I know if I was here for a bit longer, my Spanish would improve astronomically. I will be returning!
This program has pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. I will be returning with essentially, a hit to my ego. I have had to become comfortable not being the smartest nor most capable person in the room and I have occasionally come of foolish while trying to interact in Spanish, especially after a long day. This is growth that I am really happy to see because I am thinking so much less about what people think of me and focusing more on my own personal growth. I think this change is going to benefit me in Pittsburgh and allow me to learn and grow without so much of a barrier of embarrassment or self-consciousness. Professionally, I have learned so much about my field by working hands-on with patients who actually have disorders that I have only really been able to study in a classroom. This experience will allow me to succeed more in future classes and it has already helped me land a job. I interviewed a few weeks ago for a lab position, and it was offered to me on the spot at the end of the interview because of my experience speaking Spanish in a psychological setting (thank you IIP!!). I am happy to report that I will be working in the KiT Lab in the fall, studying cognitive development through math. I will be working specifically on a study that is looking at these developments among Spanish speaking children. I was overjoyed before this program to be able to combine my two majors, Spanish and psychology, in my internship, but I thought it was going to be a one-off experience and I would probably not get an experience like it again. But to my luck, I will now be working in Spanish-language psychological research and could not be happier or more excited!
While I am going to miss my daily sunsets, eating tapas on the Terraza, and admiring the European architecture, I am definitely excited to return to Pittsburgh to see my friends and start my new job (and eat a ginormous chipotle bowl). My experience with the International Internship Program has benefited me already and I am certain it will continue to benefit me in the future. Thank you!