My program in Madrid has been done for just about a week now. I have been traveling for the last few days but found some time to write this blog and reflect on what I learned throughout the program. I would like to use this blog post to reflect on some of the lessons I have learned in my academic, professional, and personal life.
First, academically, my Spanish language understanding has expanded. I have been studying Spanish since the beginning of high school, and this was the first time I got to use it in a Spanish-speaking country for an extended period of time. Being able to use the language in all the different experiences that came with daily life proved to be very helpful in my learning. Every interaction that I had was in Spanish, whether it was with the cashier at the grocery store to a client at work, I had to use my Spanish to communicate. I also had the opportunity to see some of the things we studied during my Spanish studies. A lot of the paintings and artists we studied, I was able to see their work. Additionally, I got to see buildings, castles, and historical sites that we learned about in my classes I also got to go to many informative museums on the weekends and learned a lot through reading the displays and viewing some amazing artifacts.
Professionally, I developed a lot as well. I was able to see an entirely different culture’s workplace function. I also got the chance to get a really close look into a unique small business from Spain. MadridEasy was a company that focused on abroad student housing and had year-long and 6-month leases geared towards students or young professionals. I learned a lot about business operations as well as what goes into managing over 300 properties. There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to rental/real estate, and it was interesting to get a closer look. I also saw a different form of management within this company. I was able to compare it to other forms I have seen, and it helped me learn about what strengths specific forms may have. This was also a great chance for me to slow down. I am always pushing to learn more and achieve more, but sometimes you need to put in the work and learn how to preform later. I needed to focus on the steps to becoming my most capable steps and solidifying my language skills. All around, through my observations of an entirely new workplace and business to my personal and professional advancements, I can confidently say I learned a lot professionally during this experience.
Personally, I grew and learned a lot more about myself and my needs. Living in a different country makes some of your daily rituals harder, or at times impossible. I maintained most of my habits like lifting/exercise, reading, and even gained a new one, running. I started to go on very long-distance runs around Madrid and the parks, as I feel like it’s the best way to see the city. Furthermore, I had a lot of time alone walking through the city at work or on my time off, but I also developed new close relationships over this short month. I met a friend at the park where I worked out, we would do pull-ups and other exercises almost every day together and eventually, he met my new study abroad friends. The other students in my program I also became very close with, as we traveled together and hung out every weekend. Just meeting an entirely new group of people improves your communication skills and allows you to learn about yourself in the process.
In conclusion, I am very thankful for this experience. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has made it possible. I would like to thank everyone at Pitt within the Global Experiences office for the opportunity, the scholarship donors who made this possible, my friends and family for their support, and everyone at EUSA along with MadridEasy. I personally learned so much about myself, my career, and my future. Thank you everyone for a great program!!