This post was originally published on Jack Warren's study abroad blog.
As my first trip abroad comes to an end I sit here in the Amsterdam Airport reflecting on all of my experiences. I made my decision to study Advertising abroad in Europe very late in the school year. I did not book my flight until 3 weeks before and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had seen pictures from friends and heard about trips abroad and how in order to understand the experience you have to actually go experience it. I was hesitant to actually follow through with my decision but as I sit here I am realizing that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
When we first arrived in Barcelona I felt uncomfortable with the culture. I did not like it and I wanted to go home. I have had some ups and downs this trip but the good times have helped me appreciate everything that I was able to accomplish. In the USA, we are so privileged and coming to a culture that is so different was hard for me at first. Yes, I knew that it was going to be different, but not that different. It was a culture shock that took me by surprise. It took me a few days to get acclimated to the time difference and the city I was in and when I eventually got comfortable I ended up liking it a lot more.
This study abroad trip has given me the opportunity to learn about different cultures and groups of people in a way that I never knew possible. I have learned so much about people, food, music, art, business, marketing and many other things. The way our program was structured allowed us to really immerse ourselves into the culture that we were in. I have learned a lot about myself and what I want to do with my life. This trip offered new and different perspectives from people that challenged mine. We have faced many barriers this trip and knowing that we can overcome them together is empowering and motivating. Before this trip, I was unaware of my desire to travel, but after being here for 3 weeks I can't wait to plan my trip.
My group and our professor, Juan Mundel, are the people who made this trip so life changing. It would not have been the same without these people. They were always there to challenge one another and try to bring out the best in one another. I am very thankful that I had this group by my side throughout this trip because I couldn't have done it without them.
My overall experience with food was an incredible one. I have never been able to try so many different types of food in such a short time. My goal in Amsterdam was to eat as much traditional, local Dutch food as possible. When we first arrived we stopped at a local dutch/french restaurant and tried all different types of pattes, cheese, sausage and much more. The options were endless. A standout restaurant in Amsterdam would have to be The Avacado Show. This small lunch joint incorporates Avacado in all of their food dishes. I had an Avacado bowl that was filled with all sorts of vegetables and hummus. I also had a poke bowl that was made entirely out of avocado.
As I reflect on my food experiences throughout Europe, I feel that I am much more cultured and knowledgeable about the way I view food. I have a better understanding of the traditions attached and how drastically it can differ from area to area. I am overall very pleased that I had to opportunity to tour these 3 countries.
I would like to thank my family, friends, Juan Mundel and ASE group for making this such an awesome experience.
By Jack Warren