Sebastian, Outbound to Spain

Hola el meu nom es Sebastian Claro i jo soc el estudiant d’intercanvi amb Rotary en Barcelona, Espanya. My very first journal… I have completed about 2/3rd‘s of my exchange year here in Barcelona, Spain and this is my first submission. There are no words to explain what I have been feeling and seeing and experiencing on this year abroad. When I arrived I was extremely anxious, only God knew what was waiting for me this year. Throughout this journey I have only had one host family and will only have one host family, and I am completely okay with that. My host family, La familia Zaldua Sarda has been absolutely exceptional with me. Since the very first day I have felt like I have been a part of the family. There has never been a single second where I would want to switch families. We live in the upper side of Barcelona, Spain. Yes they do speak Catalan here and yes I have been in the middle of the independence mess. Catalonia, a small region a Spain has been trying to gain independence for the last couple of years now. Manifestations and class strikes have been a part of my exchange here, however I never really participated in either. Why? Because I choose not to voice my opinion on it. I am a foreign ambassador, I can't choose one state over the other. I haven’t lived here enough. There have been so many ups and downs during this amazing year. However I have never actually felt homesick. I have never truly gotten sad because I missed home. I have however said wow I could really eat some Buffalo Wild Wings right now, but instead of getting depressed and missing them I would just occupy myself with things that are unique to Spain like tortilla de patata!! I have about 105 days left… Wow does that sound scary. It sounds like a lot however it's not. I still have Camino de Santiago (a Rotary trip) and Eurotour and more trips… At the end of counting how many days I’ll be out of my home I really only have 5 weekends left. Instead of being sad I’m actually excited. I need to plan my weeks and get ready. I need to enjoy every moment I get with my family and friends. That's one of the many life lessons exchange teaches you. Plan ahead and enjoy every moment of it!! Another lesson would be that what you remember isn't always what you think you would. As in, the little moments of happiness are worth much more than the big exciting stuff. I will forever remember hanging out with my host brother and his friends at the beach or eating dinner at 12 pm with my host family and laughing hysterically at memes. I will always remember eating takeout sushi and bubble tea at the beach with my Taiwanese best friend. I will always remember every little detail of skating through the city with my Spanish school friend. These memories are what makes exchange count. Being able to miss this next year is what makes exchange count. Being able to tell stories of all the things you did while on exchange is what makes it all count. I might not be the best exchange student to give advice since this is my first and probably last journal. However I do have one thing to say, don't waste your time while on exchange. As soon as you get off that plane at the beginning of your exchange the clock will start spinning, whether you take advantage of every single possibility is up to you!! Time never stops ticking and before you know it exchange will be over. I have done so many wonderful things that I would have never imagined about just by going outside of my comfort zone. So I encourage you. Go out and explore. Do the impossible. And enjoy every living second of it.

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