Hi. I’m currently typing this blog post late at night in the bedroom of my shared apartment in the heart of Barcelona, Spain. I’ve writing this on the 16th of June, and I have been here for almost two weeks now. The first two weeks were very exciting (and busy), and now I’m finding that I have just enough time to reflect on my experience so far and revisit my reasons for wanting to engage in this global experience.

If you’re reading this, you may be a fellow study-abroad student or a potential study abroad candidate. To anyone considering a study abroad experience, my advice would be this: do it sooner rather than later. As a rising sophomore, I met with my UA Study Abroad advisor in the break following my first semester at campus. Whilst going through the lengthy application process, I often had anxieties about “whether I would be able to do it,” especially considering that I did not speak Spanish and did not know anyone else traveling to Spain. Combatting these thoughts was the firm belief that I would figure it out. It’s worked so far.

I wanted to study abroad for several reasons: Firstly, I have always loved traveling, and I am determined to explore my own passion for travel as I enter my college career and beyond. I had always loved visiting India throughout my childhood and living in a culture vastly different from my experience at home in the United States. The way in which I interacted with people, businesses, the environment, and by extension myself, was so different based on where I was and in which culture I was immersed. At UA, my advisor helped me see what opportunities lay ahead to continue my exploration of this world. Since I had never been to Europe before, I decided to go to Barcelona, Spain. My rationale behind choosing Barcelona as my study abroad location leads into my second reason for wanting to study abroad: experience in the business space. I am passionate about my studies of finance, economics, and global markets. Being a finance and economics major, I was introduced to the internships I could apply to as a CAPA Global Education Network student. I therefore chose Barcelona because of its importance as a global business hub. I thus believed I would receive valuable experience interning in a city of such global importance. My last reason for studying abroad has to do with the timing of my my travels–Why after my freshman year? I chose the summer after my freshman year as the ideal time to have my first study abroad experience because it would give me enough time to plan a second (or even third) study abroad trip during my college career. Additionally, between finance internships and Alabama football, I figured it was best to dive in when I knew I could.

So here I am. For almost two weeks now I’ve been exploring Barcelona; going from cafes to bars, and from boat rides in the Mediterranean to rooftop views of the city. I have met interesting people and had interesting experiences, all while interning at a co-living startup and earning credit toward my degree back at UA. I plan to write again and elaborate on my studies and internship, but I hope my reasons for choosing when and where to study abroad offer insight into my experience and mindset during the trip. Hope to write again soon!