It’s easy to get sucked into the rhythm of schedule. Suddenly after 6 weeks time clouds your vision of how extraordinary your ordinary is.
My tip for new students and a personal goal for myself is to never let the comfort of routine settle, and to be open to the experiences that disrupt monotony. I personally struggle in finding a balance of routine and spontaneity but I write this blog post as a reminder to others and myself.
I can choose to wake up, go to class and come home each day sticking to the requirements of my day but I have come to realize that welcoming new experiences that lie beyond the reach of my comfort zone is what will elevate my experience abroad. At the same time, recognizing the luster in what may seem banal is also key to fully appreciating the opportunity I have to be studying abroad.
Recently I had one such experience where I parted from my Barcelona rhythm and traveled to Copenhagen for the weekend. I’ve never traveled to Europe before coming to Barcelona so being abroad for me is really like being a child in a candy store. Copenhagen was incredibly beautiful. Colorful buildings lined the small streets, and walls covered in ivy vines stood next to small trendy coffee shops exuding clean Danish design. I was easily charmed by the effortless chic design of this new culture. From the incredibly stylish street style to even the simple geometric street signs, I was enthralled with each new detail. Although I stayed up really late working to complete my projects ahead of the trip, I couldn’t feel more grateful for having the opportunity to experience the richness of a new culture that weekend. The weekend away also opened my eyes to the contrasts of Barcelona culture, helping me to appreciate the liveliness of Barcelona upon my return.
Experiences like Copenhagen, and attending Carnival at Sitges and even trying new places for brunch help me to break from what has become routine for me these past weeks, bringing me to realize that my ordinary is more extraordinary than I think. I hope to continue to seek the moments that diverge from my planned path while also continuing to appreciate the beauty of my monotony. I hope to be inspired by what seems monotonous, just as I am inspired by the lure of what is new to me.
Talia is a current student at Virginia Commonwealth University studying at Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering in Spain during the Spring 2016 term.