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Becca Kaplan

The End of an Era

by Becca Kaplan | May 15, 2017

So, my semester abroad is over. On May 6, 2017, I got on my flight back to the United States, and 16 hours later I was sleeping in my own bed for the first time in almost 4 months. It was a very emotional day, to say the least. Even though I had only been there since January, I truly felt like Barcelona was my home. I had made friends, and I had a host family that made me feel so accepted in their lives. I spoke Spanish constantly, and to be honest I’m still not used to constantly speaking English again. It’s a wonderful life, and I only wish I could’ve stayed longer. 

I know that a lot of my blogs talk about how much study abroad can change a person’s life, but I never really thought about what would happen after the semester ended. I was always thinking about the next day, living in the moment. Now, when I’m back to living in the middle of nowhere, driving a car, spending time with my own family, it is starting to become more apparent that I’m not the same person anymore. Before this grand adventure, I was insecure, shy, and I was hung up on a guy that wasn’t even that nice to me to begin with. I couldn’t even stand up for myself. Now, after having to start all over and make new friends in a new place – and speaking a new language – I feel confident in saying that I’m not any of those things anymore. I’m a girl that knows what she wants out of life, and that isn’t afraid to work hard and fight for what she deserves. I want to be a teacher, and although it sometimes seems like the world is against me, I know that teaching is what I was meant to do. I want to travel and be independent, and I won’t let anyone stand in my way of being happy. I’m telling you, being on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean is a total confidence booster. 

Aside for all that my trip did for my mental health, I am here to say that my overall experience with studying abroad in Barcelona was too amazing to put into words. The relationships I made, the things I learned, and the places I visited were things that I will always cherish. I may not have been in Spain for all that long, but I got to do things and see things that some people will never get to experience. For that, among other things, I am grateful. I mean, how many people get to say that they lived a truly authentic European lifestyle, with minimum responsibilities, for months on end? I took a ten-day trip to Italy, and I visited La Sagrada Familia – my favorite piece of architecture ever – with one of my best friends from high school, and I swam in the Mediterranean Sea (it was freezing, by the way). I did all of these things and more, and I don’t regret a single thing. I’m twenty years old, and I’ve done more in my life than I ever thought possible. 

To the students and faculty at MU that followed me along on my travels: I hope you enjoyed seeing Europe through my eyes, and I hope that I could inspire at least one of you guys to travel somewhere new or at least try something different. 

To my amazing support system: you guys were there for me every step of the way. You helped me when I was going through the lows of culture shock, and you took care of the things I couldn’t while I was gone. I can never thank you enough for all that you have done and all that you continue to do for me. 

Well, my time as a Spartans Abroad blogger has come to an end. Enjoy the rest of your spring semester, Spartans! I’ll see you guys in the fall! – B. 

Becca Kaplan ’19, is a Spanish Secondary Education major with minors in TESOL and Business. As a commuter student, she spends most of her time on campus either studying, watching Netflix, or writing her next blog post. When classes are not in session, Becca usually travels, either visiting her parents in Florida, or her extended family in St. Louis.

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