Unfortunately the last days of my trip are here. I never thought it would come so soon and I am terribly sad to have to leave. I have had the best time and a great experience that will benefit me for the rest of my life. This trip has taught me more than I imagined it would. I have learned things I didn’t know about myself and by talking to all the different people I have met I have learned a great deal of things that I will carry with me forever. Everything I learned here will be useful in the future and I will be able to better myself further.

I had originally come here thinking this experience would be super fun and a great opportunity to travel but I never thought about all the knowledge I would gain. In 4 months I learned more than I could learn is years. I learned a lot about myself. I thought I knew myself pretty well but I was wrong. When I first got here I was very closed-minded and I had never considered myself that way. I learned that I need to give things a chance before I get frustrated and take the easy way out. My living situation at first was not the best but my mom insisted I should stay and I did. 3 months later I realize it was the best decision I made because I learned many things about life. The lady I live with is sweet and very wise. I am a stubborn person and I don’t like listening to people when they give me advice, especially when I didn’t ask for it. At the beginning I would pretend to listen to her and do my own thing anyway but then I started realizing that I was the one that was wrong, not her. When I realized this I started to take her advice and now I realize how wise she is and how much I have learned from her. I used to wonder why I got placed in a house that was very different from my house in the U.S. in every way but now I know. I needed to learn how to live a different way than I have my whole life and needed to learn to adapt to drastic changes because life changes constantly.

Another thing I learned is being independent and being happy with my life no matter what. I used to hate being alone and doing things by myself but now I try to enjoy life no matter what I am doing or who I am doing it with because in the end, it is my life and I control it.

I also used to get nervous about doing certain things on my own because I didn’t believe I would be able to do it but now I know I can. I traveled by myself for one of my trips and it was one of the best trips I did. I met a lot of people, I had a great time and I didn’t need to be with someone to be happy. This helped me realize that I can do anything I want to do and if I have a good attitude about it, it will turn out great.

Studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life and I know it will be something that I will always cherish. This has opened up my mind and not I know that there is more to life than what I thought there was.

Alessandra Mendez is studying abroad at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija in Madrid, Spain.