NYC Through New Eyes
After a few weeks of being back in the United States- rather, being home- I can say without exaggeration that I have returned a changed person. All the goals I set for myself before the start of my journey have been met; I made sure to never waste a moment of my stay in Spain. Every moment of every day was spent striving for something, whether it was striving to have fun with interesting people that I was fortunate to spend even a short time with, or striving to absorb as much Spanish language and culture as possible, I didn’t let a second slip away. I’m proud to say that I studied enough to be satisfied with my knowledge of the language after only one month of practice; I got to test my level of Spanish comprehension almost immediately after returning to the states, for New York City is full of Spanish- speaking citizens that use their native language while communicating in public. The day after I survived flight cancellations, extreme delays, general chaos, and finally got home, my family and I took a trip to the beach together as a reunion event. Immediately I got really excited at the fact that I heard Spanish being spoken all around me, a poly-lingual medley stirred into my ears. This time, I didn’t just disregard this foreign language…In fact, it didn’t seem so foreign anymore; I was able to tune in to it and turn to my family with pride as I whispered translations to them. I can honestly say that there is no better feeling than that of being able to act as a “bridge” between people. By understanding various languages, one is able to understand millions of more voices and that understanding is the key to spreading freedom of expression- the key to extending it to every corner of our world.
In addition to changing my perception of the importance of learning languages, I also changed as a person in terms of responsibility and independence. My parents confessed to being deeply impressed by my new approach to chores and life in general; I gained such a new level of confidence in everything I did, because I know I passed a test, proved that I could get by and thrive while being nearly on my own in a foreign country. This changed my life at home. By feeling like more of an adult, ready to take the world into my own hands, I was compelled to take care of my parents, work around the house, and my future with a lot more conviction and sense of responsibility. Observing this change in me and confirming the change in my character, my parents even began treating me differently, trusting me more. I loved Spain; the experience was unforgettable and I had the time of my life, truly. But being there for a month allowed me to reevaluate my life at home- I learned to appreciate the simple things I had at home, like really grassy parks, air conditioning, and a pool in my backyard. In summation, my experience in Spain opened my eyes a little wider to the world around me. The fact that I had so much independence while abroad put me under a certain amount of pressure, which molded me into a more responsible and mature person. The lessons I learned in Spain will be with me forever as I continue to explore cultures of different countries while working toward my goal of becoming fluent in five languages.