Buenos días amigos,
Well, it’s less than a week away that I return to the United States after living and studying in Spain for five months. This experience has been a wonderful blessing and I am so fortunate to have the support of so many people. I could not have imagined anything different than the amazing opportunities to travel throughout Spain, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
(Don’t forget: Click on the photos to enlarge them)
I have met so many interesting people; attended insightful concerts, conferences, and master classes; and managed to maintain exceptional grades at the university. My Spanish language skills have improved greatly. I look forward to cultivating friendships in the States that will help me continue to grow and learn about Hispanic culture in the U.S. It’s tough to admit, but research shows that our cultural diversity and demographic statistics are only expanding as work and learning opportunities continue to grow in our nation. As for me, I’m absolutely estatic about this!
Since the end of the semester, I’ve been in Spain for two weeks (Sevilla and Málaga) to finish my Spanish adventure strong – saying goodbye to close friends, enjoying the last bit of authentic Iberian ham, Spanish wine, flamenco, beautiful natural life, and maybe catching some interesting, questionable observations. This was a good decision since I have been able to debrief from all my travels.
One of the toughest challenges of this semester was saying goodbye to my lovely, supportive host parents, Manuel and Dulce. Since my first day in Sevilla, they have welcomed me with open arms, offered me delicious food, shared lots of laughter and created many long-lasting memories.
I really hope they have the chance to visit me in the US so that I can share with them my culture and how American lifestyle is not always exactly what is depicted in cinema or television series. Manuel and Dulce are practically second parents to me. I’m so fortunate to have family around the world.
I stayed the past few days in Córdoba with my best friend, Katie, who is studying in Spain for three weeks. I have missed her so much. We attended an Equestrian show, toured La Mezquita-Cathedral, and finished some sovenir shopping for our families. Córdoba is famous for leather and handcraft ceramics. The city is also decorated with Islamic art which dates back to the Arab-Muslim Empire of Al-Andalus from 8th-15th centuries.
I could not have imagined a better place to live and experience a mixture of world cultures for this semester abroad. My family, friends, and professors have continuously supported me every step of the way. I am so blessed to have an amazing network and community of people who believe in adventure and discovery. Thank you.
There are a few things I look forward to when I return home. One thing is…. Pancakes. No joke! I don’t regularly eat pancakes anyways – I used to cook them for my younger cousins, but really… My mouth waters every time I think about a stack of buttermilk pancakes from Ihop.
Another thing I look forward to is meeting my baby nephew, Austin. My brother and his wife gave birth to their second child in March and I’ve been dying to meet him since. He and his brother, Trevor, are the cutest kids around. I can’t wait to give them hugs and kisses until their cheeks are red!
Finally, I’m really looking forward to networking and building my career connections. I’ll begin my summer attending SAVVY Musician in Action Conference at University of South Carolina. After that, I will be interning with Philadelphia International Music Festival and Virginia Wesleyan College’s Sacred Music Summer Conference to build my work competence in Arts Management. Lastly, I’ll be interning at the end of August with Lake George Music Festival in Lake George, New York. How exciting!
This semester abroad has been a dream come true. I’ve made many amazing Spanish friends and become comfortably independent as a mature, young woman. I’m looking forward to connecting with my family and friends in the U.S. as well as keeping in touch with my new friends in Sevilla. Much love to all. Thank you all so very much.
Quizás, voy a continuar mi aventura con los viajes a otros países en Sur América. Tengo muchas opciones. Sin embargo, una cosa lo más importante es que quiero inspirar y apoyar cualquier persona que quiere viajar y experimentar toda la belleza que el mundo le ofrece.
Besos amigos. Hasta luego,
Stephanie Renee ❤