Guest post by: Senior in Business Administration, David Shuer. This Fall, he studied abroad with the UW ALBA program in Barcelona, Spain.
With two weeks left in my study abroad in Barcelona, going home will be bittersweet. I miss the comfort and conveniences of home but know after a few days back I will be the surprises and minor inconveniences that give living abroad its charm. In the past two months, I have found great joy in exploring Catalonia and its rich culture.
A passion of mine is rock climbing and meeting local climbers to exploring Catalonia’s natural areas has been a true privilege. Beyond this, it has provided a venue for rich intercultural exchange. We have spent hours discussing the state of the EU, Spain, America, and the world. Being exposed to foreign perspectives is a gift that can be hard to come by back home and coming in with a sometimes-dissenting opinion on global and cultural issues can lead to many fresh perspectives.
There’s a point after a couple weeks abroad where one’s desire to be a tourist fades, and they can begin to move out of their comfort zone to explore local culture on a deeper level. When this happens, they begin to be exposed to dissenting perspectives and have a rare opportunity to scrutinize their values. This is an incredibly rewarding experience which only comes from extended time spent abroad, and exchange programs such as Alba Barcelona are great ways to facilitate this.
Studying abroad in Barcelona has been invaluable, and I will miss all of the learning and personal growth that it has entailed. That being said, I look forward to the culture shock of returning home and all the lessons that may bring about as well.