Guest Post By: Senior studying Marketing and Finance, Sowmya Magham. During Winter 2022, Sowmya studied abroad with the ALBA program in Barcelona, Spain, and is also a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient.
Studying abroad in Barcelona through the ALBA partner business program this past quarter was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. Learning in an international setting not only allowed me to immerse and engage with a brand-new community but it also challenged me to be independent and navigate unknown waters. As someone who entered college without even slightly considering studying abroad, going through with this program was quite a large personal accomplishment as it showed me the value of stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Academically, studying in a small group setting and being able to get to know the professors enabled me to feel more engaged and interested in the material at hand; moreover, learning business concepts in a European context broadened and deepened my understanding of Finance. Therefore, though it was my final quarter as a student, I felt as though I had learned a great deal.
Apart from a personal and academic development perspective, this study abroad experience was simply just so much fun as it gave me the opportunity to travel and immerse within both the Spanish culture and other European cultures. Every other week, we were taught how to make traditional Spanish meals with our peers while learning about the rich history/origins behind it, and alternative Fridays were reserved for excursions where we were led to some of the most breathtaking and iconic views of the Barcelona region (some activities included cliff jumping and hiking!). Weekends were left for student to plan their own trips and I chose to dedicate them to immerse in other European cultures; I visited a total of 5 other countries with other ALBA peers and these trips ended up being some of my favorite highlights of the entire experience.
In short, these past 3 quarters were filled with new adventures, relationships, and challenges, which ultimately pushed me to be the best version of myself. While I know studying abroad can seem daunting especially during a tumultuous time like now, I strongly recommend every college student to study abroad if they can as it gave me an experience of a lifetime that I will cherish forever.