Life is a beautiful thing

Birds Nests at Parc Güell
Hanging out in the bird’s nests at Parc Güell

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason.

It’s so crazy how life works sometimes, but it is a great comfort to think that there is some order. We as humans have the ability create meaning from our lives, ride the flow of challenges and changes, and look for meaning in the rear view mirror as we continue our journey forward.

Not many people know this but in order to study abroad I had to make the decision to set myself an entire year back in school in order to open up space to travel. At my university, the University of Florida, a designated study abroad program for Architecture/Design students in Barcelona is not offered and before myself, no one in my college has ever done this before. It was a difficult and strenuous process, but saying that it was worth it is an understatement. It was 1,000,000,000% worth it.

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Making new friends in Granada

The biggest difference between being in Barcelona right now and how it will be when I return in the future, is that now I am here as a student and then I will be a traveler or in town on business or something along those lines. Anyone can travel to a foreign country but not everyone get’s the opportunity to study in a foreign country.

I went into this journey basically blind. Since I didn’t have many resources from my university, I had to rely on my own personal research. I remember when I found the CIEE website. It was as if my computer started to sing to me! I genuinely do not know if I would be having such and amazing experience if it weren’t for the kindhearted, wonderful people from CIEE. I am so grateful that I found CIEE! This is such an amazing organization and I am so to have found them.

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My beautiful ladies, Paige & Rosa

Not only do I live in one of the best neighborhoods in the cutest apartment, I also am I living with an amazing family, Rosa, Gala, and another fellow CIEE Architecture student, Paige. Oh my gosh they are perfect; I couldn’t picture myself with another family. This is just one of many opportunity’s that would have never been possible without CIEE.

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Gala 🙂

I also get to volunteer with students teaching them English, I’m also studying Spanish, and not to mention studying architecture in one of the best cities in the world! We’ve traveled to Granada, Girona, and Tarragona, and even Madrid!! Sometimes we have Friday’s off from school so I even have the chance to go to London, Amsterdam, Bilbao and even Ibiza. It blows my mind how much my expectations have been exceeded.

It’s unreal how great of a program this is and how lucky I am to be a part of it. I made the decision to study abroad a bit too late and didn’t even apply until the deadline was already over!!! I will never be able to express my gratitude, isn’t it crazy how life works?! From the absolutely amazing staff to the extremely organized curriculum, to put it in the cheesiest terms possible, being here has definitely changed my life.

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Everyone from the Architecture & Design program at the Alhambra in Granada
Roasted chestnuts with a few of the amazing CIEE Staff members
Roasted chestnuts with a few of the amazing CIEE Staff members

Of course I have so much more life left to live, however, for my first time in Europe and my first time ever really traveling, I could not imagine it going any better. I’ve been learning so much, not only about architecture and art, but I’ve also been learning so much about the world and myself. What’s awesome is that it’s not over!! I look forward for what is to come. For example, Calcotada with CIEE this weekend and my independent trip to London next weekend!! Not to mention the pin-up I have in studio next week and the research paper I have to write…I have never been so happy to be learning!

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Loving life on a weekend trip to Bilbao, Spain
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