by Rebeca, Tufts 1+4 Participant
With the last month of my time here in Madrid approaching, I’m constantly thinking about what I want to accomplish with the short time I have left. Yet, I have realized that I’ve accomplished so much this year. I have been able to switch the country I live in, my home, family, and way of life to the extent that now I feel totally normal living here in Madrid. My Spanish is better than ever before and I feel very comfortable speaking it all day with everyone. I’ve put a lot of work into making activities for the girls at the Montoya home and do my best to help every afternoon I spend with them. I’ve begun giving English classes at the Neighborhood Association of Ventilla and have taken it upon myself to spread information about the workshops offered and find someone to help us with the English classes in the afternoons. Through traveling I’ve seen more of the world and in doing so have made meaningful connections and friendships in Madrid and all over Europe. I know the district of Tetuan and the center of Madrid very well and have been a tour guide for friends who have visited. I have become immersed in the Spanish way of life (not sure how I’ll go back to eating meals at the normal time) and have learned how to make some Spanish dishes!
For these reasons, I have acquired a feeling of contentedness with my progress this year. If I think about it, I have completely changed as a person. I have a broader perspective, am more open to meeting new people, and I know more about who I am and what I want in life. Although I’ll be SO sad when I leave my life here and my host family, I do not think I’ll have any regrets about this year. Looking forward I hope to spend more time with my host family and exploring Madrid, and to enjoy my last few weeks. Additionally, I have realized that I should go through college and life like I have been during my year abroad. Now I am used to always looking for an opportunity to do something more, to explore, to find my own fun. I think the stress of high school kept me from having that mindset about my town. I was happy to leave because I found it boring (Huntsville and I have a love-hate relationship), but now I look at it nostalgically and am thinking about exploring the natural beauty and cute destinations Alabama has to offer. This positive and curious mindset will benefit me for the rest of my life, which is why I will be forever thankful that I took a year to grow before going to Tufts.