UMD: A Globally Connected University

Danielle Stein

Program: Maryland-in-Barcelona
Term: Spring 2018
Major: Journalism

Studying abroad in Barcelona helped me gain a wider world-view, get me out of my comfort zone, and gain even more independence. I came into the program only knowing a small handful of people, but am now leaving with friends I know will last a lifetime! I learned to immerse myself in a new culture and to not be afraid to try something new. I never said "no" to new opportunities, and I'm glad I didn't because I tried many new foods, traveled to places I never imagined and learned more about the culture of Barcelona. 

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: I would tell anyone, regardless of your identity, that studying abroad is one of the most special opportunities you should have. Never let your identity deter you from going to another country because there is always a place for you where you want to go. 

The story that stands out the most was a thrilling day in the Spanish island of Tenerife. My friend and I signed up for an outdoor adventure of canyoning, rappelling down a waterfall. We are thrill-seekers, but never expected to be tested so physically and emotionally. The waters of the waterfall were so strong! We had to put ourselves out there and be brave, although it was quite scary at times. We went way out of our comfort zones but ended up making it all the way to the end (8 hours later) and never felt so accomplished to have overcome our fears and the many obstacles along the way! 

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: As someone who came into the program with a random rooming situation, I was nervous at first. I knew there were many solidified groups of friends coming into my program and wasn't sure where I would fit in. However, I could not have been luckier with my roommates, and the entire group of Maryland students in my apartment. These students, as I was, all came in looking to make new friends and be open to new situations. We all ended up becoming best friends. Don't be afraid to go random, you may end up making friends at your own university you never knew before! 

One of the biggest challenges I faced that I didn't anticipate was the balance between exploring my host city of Barcelona while balancing it with traveling throughout Europe as well. Barcelona has so much to offer that I wanted to be able to explore on the weekends when I didn't have class. I also wanted to be able to travel throughout the continent to other new places. Balancing the two was a challenge, but I allotted weekends to staying in Barcelona and exploring and learning more. I'm really grateful for this because it is important to learn as much about the city you are living in, while also taking advantage of the other cities and countries in close proximity.