Travel on an airplane for 12 hours, to somewhere 5,599 miles away, and you will end up in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the place that changed my life forever. This once in a lifetime opportunity occurred two years ago, during the summer of 2008. Before this I was your typical teenager, I had only taken trips with the supervision of my parents. This “typical teenager” status went flying out the window the minute flight 740 took off with a destination of Madrid, Spain. As the plane began to leave the ground, I remember the web of mixed emotions in my head. I was ecstatic that I was traveling to Spain, nervous because I did not know what to expect, sad that I would miss my parents, hopeful that I would become great friends with the people I was traveling with, and ready for whatever adventures may lie ahead of me.
When I arrived home from Spain one month later, I was told by my family that I was a changed person and I was sure of that. The trip affected me in so many ways, more than anything has ever before. As a result of traveling with 50 other students and only three teachers, I was forced to become independent. I was use to having someone there making sure I did everything that needed to be done, but this was not the case. It would be impossible to list everything I was required to do on my own, which is what made me the strong, independent girl that I am today.
Not only was I more independent, my eyes were able to witness a new way of life. I have never been outside the country that I was born in, and seeing another country showed me that there is so much more in our world. A different country means a different way of life. More than ever, I appreciate every little thing I have and I do not take anything for granted.
Looking back I am thankful that in Spain, I was forced to speak Spanish everywhere that we went. Nothing can compare to speaking Spanish on the streets of Spain, it is the best way to learn and has gotten me to where I am today in my Spanish studies.
Currently, I am taking my fifth year of Spanish. This class requires Spanish volunteering, something I recently developed a passion for. To me, nothing is better than knowing that I was able to help someone out, or make something in our world better by using my Spanish. In the future, I plan to continue community service where I am able to use my Spanish.
I cannot even imagine how my life would be without my trip to Spain. As a result, I am more independent, appreciate what I have, know there is more out there, and truly want to help others using my Spanish. As it is nearing my time to go off to college, I recall the thoughts that went through my head before my flight took off for Spain, a very familiar feeling. I am ecstatic because I am going to college, nervous because I do not know what to expect, sad that I will miss my parents, hopeful that I will become great friends with the people I meet, and ready for whatever adventures may lie ahead of me.