Two years had passed and not one other student from the school had signed up for the 10 day Andalusia trip to Spain through EF Tours. I made flyers and made announcements to the student body inviting them to travel to Spain. There was one month until I was supposed to leave, no one else had signed up, and just as all hope was about to be lost my Spanish teacher found another school departing to Spain. On June 19, 2009 I boarded a flight to Spain by myself with a group of nine high school students and teachers off to visit a country thousands of miles away. Excited and definitely nervous the Spain trip turned into an unforgettable experience that opened my eyes to a new culture, amazing people, and lasting memories that will be cherished forever.
Once arriving in Madrid I was immediately introduced to the unique Spanish culture. The difference in Spanish pronunciations opened my awareness to the Spanish language. Each day we learned of the historic places that Spain had to offer. We visited Giralda Tower in Sevilla where we climbed inclined ramps to the top until you could observe the curved horizon of the round earth in front of you. In Consuegra we visited Don Quijote’s windmills. This is when history for me truly came alive as the war sites from Madrid and trading ports in Sevilla launched from the textbooks and became primary source experiences.
In addition to the amazing culture, the friendships that were made were even more rewarding. On the 18 hour flight over to Spain I was so overly excited that I did not sleep at all. I had suffered from post plane ride jet lag which came with loss of appetite and nausea that lasted the whole trip. Nevertheless my new five friends became my medical team. Whether it was just holding my luggage as I puked up dinner from last night, providing the almighty Pepto Bismol, relaxing in the Fermin Hotel room playing along to a Spanish millionaire game show, or down at the beach skipping rocks across the Mediterranean Sea they always had my back and I thank them for everything they had to endure.
This Spain trip has shaped me into the person I am today. I have learned from my mistakes and encourage everyone to sleep on the plane no matter how excited they are. I have learned to be confident, to not be afraid of the unknown because it could turn into the best experience in the world. As an individual of society I have become well-informed of just how beautiful our planet Earth is. From the jaw dropping orange sunsets in Sevilla to the hundreds and hundreds of acres of olive trees on our bus ride to Granada, all witnessing the precious moments that count in life.
The new culture, amazing people, and lasting effects of the Spain trip made it one in a million. I would love to return in the future to study abroad one day and add on to the remarkable experiences I had in Spain. Even with the jet lag, everything was perfect. From the sudden mishaps, greater things were made of it. Even when I thought I was not going to return home on the same plane as everyone else I ended up missing my plane flight from a lucky delay in Spain and was able to return home safely with the rest of the group. It was a fairytale trip that was wonderful and is funny to believe that it almost never happened.
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