It seems the more semesters that pass, the faster they go. I’m already a senior in college, but I can still clearly remember the first day my mom and dad helped me to cart up all my things to the 16th floor of Hewett at Illinois State University. This semester I’ve spent in Spain has made me grow more than any of my other semesters, academically and personally. However, this semester has been no exception to the “the more semesters you take, the faster they seem to go” rule. When I return, I’ll only have one semester left and then I’ll be out in the working world.
It’s a scary thought. I’ve been so comfortable sitting in a classroom and learning; taking test and jotting down notes. But come May, I’ll be scrambling with all the other graduates to find an internship or a job.
Studying abroad has allowed me a great amount of opportunities. When I’m writing my resume, I can proudly put that I have studied in Granada, Spain, and that I've exposed myself to new cultures and ideas; that I am a worldly person that is culturally sensitive. It gives me the edge over other people competing for the same job. If in an interview they ever ask about my study abroad experience, they will be able to see the passion and happiness that I have gained from it.
Not only has studying abroad helped me bulk up my resume, but it has made me grow as a person. Public transport used to terrify me. I’d have a mild panic attack at deciding if the bus was going to the right place or not. Last week on a trip to Germany, I took a bus to another bus, to a plane, to a bus, and then a taxi just to arrive! It’s made me face my fears and grow from them, and for that I am truly thankful.
Planning trips, calculating costs, checking maps, and then checking them again, getting lost and asking for directions, all of this has made me grow from dependent on other people to lead me, to me leading myself. When I travel anywhere now, I don’t worry too much if I get lost, and hey! I can read a map now!
After I graduate, and college fades to the back of my memories, my semester in Granada will remain the strongest. It has taught me more than I could have ever thought about life, the world, and experiencing it; things a semester at ISU would have never taught me.
Jace Waller, a senior at Illinois State University, is the CEA Fall 2012 MOJO for Granada, Spain
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