We stepped off the AVE (high speed train) at the station in Madrid after our short, one hour ride. The excitement bubbled in my stomach, we were finally here! Four days to explore this amazing, new city with seven of my new closest friends. Thinking about what this experience would be like made me feel mature and confident. I was impressed that everything went smoothly, from the cab ride to the station, to the ride itself, we were thrilled with our 'expert' travel-planning skills. Our hostel was super cool and modern and we couldn't contain our smiles.
After freshening up for a bit, we started exploring the area around our hostel. We headed to Starbucks first. As we sipped our sweet American capitalism, we visited some of the stores that we don't have in Zaragoza or ZGZ as we all call it (that sadly includes Top Shop and Brandy Melville).
The Confidence to Explore a New City Through Being Overseas
Each day we walked about 10 miles, stunned by the beauty of Madrid. From the Reina Sofia to the Prado, I felt exceptionally lucky to be able to critique the art and architecture using my newly acquired Spanish art-history skills.
Before coming to SYA, I knew that my nine months in Spain would shape who I was. However, there was no way I could comprehend the level of gratification that these new opportunities and experiences would give me. There is no way I'd be able to hop on a train in NY with seven friends and explore such a culture-filled city for four days, completely on our own. Only SYA would provide me with this kind of independent growth experience.
There are different reasons that every student attends SYA, some students having a family member as an alum; others attend schools which are affiliated, whereas I happened to stumble upon it on the internet. We may have come with different intentions, all of us with different backgrounds, but we will all leave with a shared skill set in global thinking as well as a new and cultured perspective on the world.
Nothing Comparable to the Family and Community that SYA Creates
Whatever the reason that brings this group of people from such different backgrounds together, we will all end up being able to grow and make bonds that are one-of-a-kind. Through our independent travel experiences, we are able to increase our confidence and other skills that will later help us navigate the world. There is nothing comparable to the family and community that SYA creates, as well as the amazing opportunities we are given which help us conquer the world.