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The Biggest Souvenir Your Suitcase Won’t Fear

I’m a little less than a month into my semester here in Barcelona. In some ways, it feels like I’ve lived here forever, but in others I feel like I’m still getting adjusted. Although it hasn’t been a full month yet, I’ve learned so much. Everyone has told me studying abroad “changes your life”. I always assumed they were exaggerating, but I’m starting to see the truth in it.

In the midst of adapting to my temporary home, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve found that I have to do something wrong, and usually very wrong, to finally get it right. Instead of getting frustrated while trying to adapt to living in a new place, with new people I’ve learned the best way to really adjust is to let go. Let go of my irrational desire to control everything. As predictable as that sounds, it’s true.

I’ve been learning to go with flow and embrace this season of change in my life. With arms open wide to welcome the inevitable mistakes and room to grow. Since my decision to let go, I’ve seen my experience become so much richer and full of life. By letting my days unfold on their own, I’ve had so many new experiences that I’ll remember forever. I’ve been able to make each day an adventure and that’s what has made my time here better than I could imagine.

Instead of going home after class I’ve started wandering around parts of the city I’ve never seen and letting myself get lost. Through this, I’ve befriended locals, found my favorite coffee shop and seem to constantly be stumbling upon festivals and pop up markets. It’s easy to explore a foreign city that’s new and exciting, but it’s something I’ll take home with me as well.

Most of the time I get so set in my daily routine at home and at school that my days start to seem mundane. Just like I’ve learned to do in Barcelona, I can make each day remarkable by seeking out adventure, even at home. While I’m learning a lot of new, useful and important skills, I think the biggest lesson I will take home with me is being able to make each day memorable no matter where I am. The world is huge and it’s impossible to go everywhere (although I’ll try), but making the most of your time no matter where you are can be just as fulfilling. Whether that means finding a new route home and getting lost for two hours (me every week), trying a new food or even talking to someone new in class; you have the power to make each ordinary day, extraordinary.

Lauren B. is a CEA Study Abroad student. She is studying abroad in Barcelona in the Spring of 2017 and is currently a junior at The University of Georgia. 

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