Arcadia W. is currently a junior at SYA Spain. She comes to SYA from Irvington High School (NY). Read more of Arcadia's Campus Reporter work throughout the year here.
You will learn countless things throughout your year abroad, but here are three things that every SYA student will walk away with:
Studying abroad has changed me in countless aspects, but the most noticeable is definitely my newfound ability to adapt and "go with the flow". Spanish culture in general is much more relaxed than the fast-paced American lifestyle. While there will definitely be an adjustment period, you will end up craving those days where you sit in a cafe or park with friends for hours or debate politics with your host-cousins over a seven hour lunch. The fact that your food check takes half an hour to come becomes the norm and you take advantage of that as you slowly sip your café con leche.
One of the most amazing parts of Spain is its long history and its incredible art. I've always been a huge art fan, but having museums like the Prado and places like the Sagrada Familia at your fingertips will turn anyone into a "culture-junkie". The tremendous differences in culture between different regions of Spain will fill your travels with languages like Catalan and Euskara, completely different accents in Andalusia and incredible traditions like Flamenco dancing. There will never be a lack of things to see or places to go, and your friends from home (and parents) will all be jealous of your amazing pictures and experiences.
You will leave Spain with a new set of priorities and values. Most of us have come to admire the way that Spaniards work to live, instead of living to work. When I go home, I hope to bring this new outlook with me, and keep in mind this new way of living and enjoying life. The Spanish culture will teach you a lot about living in the present and you will walk away with a new outlook on the world that will guide you in your future adventures.