Blog 6 Brady Rudrud. From Being Scared To Put Myself Out There To Now Loving Trying New Things

Before this trip, I viewed it as more of a vacation than a class. I wasn’t really sure how much classroom work we would be doing so I didn’t see myself learning that much. I am very happy to say that I was completely wrong about this one. So much of my learning happened in a natural way of immersing myself into the culture of Spain. I am very glad that I can say I got the whole global experience and more in just 2 short weeks of travel.  

The Chaos Of Abroad Led Me To Some Great Friends

Coming into this trip I thought of myself as someone who was very self-aware. I quickly learned this was not the case. I found out that I was only self-aware when I was in environments that were comfortable. As soon as I got to Madrid I realized I was not accustomed to being an outsider and I did not like it all. Going through Puerto del Sol was very nerve-racking for me. There were so much people and general chaos I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I had never experienced this kind of anxiety before. It was during this time I realized I needed to rely on my classmates to help me navigate it all. I am glad this happened though because this is what helped me meet such amazing friends.

My friends and I at the Royal Palace, taken with my iPhone

Traveling Abroad Helped Me Learn To Open Up To Trying New Things

When I applying for this study abroad class a couple months ago I did not want to go alone so one of my best friends and I applied together. I was accepted, he was not. At the time I was very upset and I can vividly remember being scared about going away for 2 weeks with people I didn’t know at all. However, my friend not being accepted turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me as this increased cultural curiosity. Typically, I am someone who does not like change. I like the simple foods, normal clothing, and not being overly adventurous. This all changed as a result of my new friends. Within a couple of days I was trying paella, walking through the downtown streets of Madrid way too late into the night, and buying clothes that I never thought I would put on. By the end of the trip and now having been back home for a couple of days, I can definitely notice myself having little fear going into different cultures that I once was afraid of.

An Increase In Empathy Is My Greatest Take Away From The Trip

Half way through the trip I found myself caring about the group I was with and making sure they were enjoying themselves more than I was. I didn’t really anticipate this happening because I hardly new them just a week ago but I very glad it did. I learned that I like to be a leader during social situations and found that the greatest thing was stories the next day of how much fun everyone had. I would say this was my biggest area of personal growth from the abroad experience. I really felt like my ability to identify with others feelings and relate to them got better each day we were abroad and that it thanks to putting myself out there in uncomfortable situations.

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