Fiery, Feisty, and pumping with life! My heart belongs to Spain.

Fiery, feisty, pumping with life and bustling with an unparalleled energy – Spain has, and will always have my heart. A country unlike any other, one that vibrates with a polychromatic vibe, a vibe where Gaudi’s spirit emanates through buildings, a blend of languages color the streets and a certain joie de vivre lures you in. Two years ago, I saw myself completely changing into a different person, I saw myself learn, grow, adapt, change, go through hard times and stand back up, and it was all because of my time abroad. Two years ago, I embarked on a life-changing 6-month journey to Barcelona to study abroad. And two years ago, my life changed.

Why Spain?
I have been obsessed with travel for as long as I remember – the whizzing of a plane, the smell of airports, the tingle of new cities, the excitement of unknown promises… It has always been my kind of obsession.  I visited Barcelona in August where every alley bustled with a whirring type of energy, where every barrio had its own personality, where history juxtaposed with the contemporary, where art and culture met, where life permeated through every street… When I came back to reality, Barcelona kept calling.

It’s warm weather, the unbeatable gastronomic experiences, the nightlife, the beaches, the history – it has it all. One day your spending your day by the beach, the next day you’re exploring the medieval gothic quarter, and other days you’re indulging in the contemporary art scene of Barcelona.

Everything starts really late too, no matter when you want to explore, whether for a drink or tapas, you will always find a place open. (Good luck finding a café open at siesta time though!). There is always something to do, and the culture is unique – focused more on expats and internationals than on the locals.  During my time in Barcelona, I never felt like an outsider, I just belonged.

At first,  I chose Spain for the promise of a life full of energy and colors – but I stayed for the incredible way it perfectly complimented my studies and my career.

How Traveling to Spain Helped My Studies
As a business marketing major, the world is my playground. Every company wants a marketer, and the job opportunities are endless. But we’ve all been there before – completely hit by a mind-block, not knowing what you want to do with life, where you want to go, and yada yada yada. Before coming to Spain, I had reached that block. Nothing really inspired me anymore, and I felt like my studies became quite repetitive.

Until I came to Barcelona. Business schools in Spain have a reputation that precedes them, not only in Europe, but in the world. It has some of the best business schools worldwide, making it the perfect place to meet like-minded people, network, get inspired and spend your days truly learning from the best. There are thousands of internship opportunities as well, and a ton of cultural activities to be done, all adding to the value you get as a student.

I was put right into an atmosphere filled with ambitious entrepreneurs, a start-up scene that is filled with some top notch business models, and a chance to learn something new everyday. Studying business in Barcelona was like having practical projects every single day, except you got the freedom to actually learn without the stress of tests and whatnot.

How Being in Spain Changed Me as A Person and Why All Students Should Travel Abroad
It’s no secret that traveling abroad changes you as a person, shapes your personality, and has a major life impact on you. Traveling abroad has a plethora of different benefits.

I got to learn a new language.  
Learning a language in class is something, and getting to practice and hear it every second is something else. By being abroad, you’ll find your language skills highly improving. Immersing yourself in the culture and the language drastically improves your language skills.

I got more creative.
Being “thrown” into a completely different culture with thousands of sensory stimuli going on around me everyday inspired me to be everything and do everything at once. The city opened up my mind to so many things I wanted to do – from photography, to writing to graphic designer to even starting my path in professional dance. You’ll find that the atmosphere of novelty pushes you to try things you never thought you would before.

I was away from my comfort zone…So I grew.
Being away from my comfort zone and being on my own, away from my family and my friends and my home really helped me get a clearer image of who I was. I began to form an identity separate from everything I grew up around, and it was an incredible opportunity of self discovery, self reflection and growth.

A better view for what I wanted to do in the future.
You know when you’re stuck in a rut and you suddenly don’t know what you want to do with your future anymore? That was me. Again, until I visited Spain. Just being abroad opened my mind up to so many ideas that it was easier for me to get a clearer image of what I wanted to do.

I got an expanded worldview.
I found myself exposed to so many different cultures on a daily basis – especially in a place like Spain. Reading about a culture in a book is something, and getting to meet people everyday from different cultures was something completely else for me. You get an insider’s perspective to new cultures and you find yourself automatically becoming more open-minded.

International networking – all day, everyday!
People often don’t think about networking when traveling abroad, but a student you totally should. And that’s what I did. I networked like my life depended on it, knew people from all over the world, and always made sure to leave a good impression. I knew I’d want to go back to Spain to work there, so I made it a goal to actually prove myself.

Traveling abroad was an essential factor to the growth, development and self-discovery of so many people I knew, including myself. It should be on everyone’s bucket list – and I know it is. But mixing travel with studies? It’s the ultimate formula for self-development and one of the most rewarding experiences that a student can have.

Dalia ElMaghraby