Education Beyond Borders
The key to embracing travel as a learning opportunity is to travel without any mental limitations. In my past experiences abroad, I did not utilize the opportunity to explore the city that I traveled to. However, for this trip, I took advantage of my freedom to explore.
I always had an appreciation for - but was never so inclined enough to seek out - art. So, when I visited Madrid I challenged myself to learn more about the different painters, architects, and overall history of the art that surrounded me. I quickly realized that Madrid offers some of the most beautiful museums, filled with the works of great painters like Picasso and Dalí. By keeping an open mind I have had the great fortune of learning about the many famous art pieces in Europe’s beautiful museums, but I have also experienced the beauty of underground art and artists. My passion for art even expanded beyond just paintings, to music and dance as well, from the classical stylings of a ‘mini-orchestra’ playing on the streets of Gran Vía to elderly man that paints the lake in Parque Retiro every Friday. I have deepened my knowledge about the people and their different cultural values. Entering the art world has allowed me to enter the stories of the people that have cultivated Madrid, and contributed to its rich-artistic history.
Sometimes the lessons are intellectual, and other times they are personal. During my time in Dublin, Ireland, my friends and I met a bartender that gave us a quick lesson about the self love and the essence of time. He told us “Love yourself with every ounce. Love what you have, because it's all you got. Love the people around you, ‘cause they won't always be there.” His words pushed me to think about time, and how little time we actually have in one life. This brief conversation taught me to take time and use it wisely. I have learned through my trip to appreciate time: the time to call my grandfather so that I could hear the joy in his voice as he told me ‘I am so proud of you’, the time to call my parents and thank them for supporting my passion, the time to reflect and understand about my time in Madrid, and most importantly, the time to appreciate every essence of a life that I was blessed to have, a life that allows me to learn without limitations.
The most important thing that I have learned from traveling abroad is that the world is your classroom. I have had the opportunity to meet different people from different continents, and learn a great deal about life along the way. Know that as you travel, each person that you will encounter and every experience that you have provides an opportunity to learn; whether it be about a different food, a new piece of art, or even an enchanting melody. Each moment that you embrace selflessness and look beyond your own perspectives to understand the view of others, births an opportunity to grow and educate yourself as a citizen of the world.