Semester in Spain

The gorgeous plaza in Salamanca that I walked through many times a day

This is the first of a couple posts that will talk about formative times in my life, when it comes to travel, embracing life, and serving…

One of the defining moments, or time periods, in my love of travel is when I decided to study abroad the second semester of my sophomore year in college. Before that time, I had traveled a lot within the country – on family vacations (we would just pick an area of the country and drive around for 2 weeks to see everything we could see. And we definitely saw a lot!), youth group trips, college scouting trips (I visited 21 schools across the US. My parents were very obliging) – but had only been outside of the country to the near parts of Canada and across the border to Tijuana, Mexico.

So when I chose to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain it was the start of something significant. I was officially bitten by the travel bug…

I lived with a Spanish family for four months while taking classes at the University of Salamanca and traveling on weekends. I was only 19 years old and it was definitely a defining time for me. I was a grown up now, living in a foreign country, and doing it on my own. It was exhilarating.

After the semester ended, 2 friends and I did the quintessential college thing and backpacked around Europe for a month with guidebook and Eurorail pass in hand. Not counting the Eurorail pass and the plane ticket, we did it on about 40 euros a day (very close to $40 at that time). We slept in hostels and cheaper hotels. We bought food in grocery stores and picnicked in the parks. We occasionally rode night trains and washed our hair in public bathroom sinks. Some days we would walk for hours on end in order to save money on metro rides. Our guidebook called Berlin the ‘un-walkable city’. Well, Lauren and I walked it.

We saw a bullfight in Spain, watched the sun rise over the Grand Canal in Venice, saw the David in Florence, ate chocolate in Switzerland, climbed on roofs in Munich (don’t ask), explored the canals & climbed windmills in Amsterdam, saw my great Uncle’s grave in Normandy, picnicked under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, plus many more wonderful adventures. It was a time I will always treasure.

I think in total I made it to 13 or so counties in that semester. And like I said, I was hooked…

With our backpacks on, in Rothenburg, Germany

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2 thoughts on “Semester in Spain

  1. I’m SO proud of you! Can’t wait to read about what God is teaching you as I am personally invested in how He is molding you for Kingdom work 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, my friend!

  2. Pingback: Bucket List | Karen Barnes

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