The adventure continues! After only three days back from spring break, I left once again for another trip to Majorca (I do have school, I promise!). One of the amazing things about the study abroad structure at Calvin College is the free three-day weekends you get toward the end of the semester. While they encourage you to stay in your city for the majority of the trip, at the end these weekends are designed for traveling and adventures.
I wasn't initially planning a trip to Majorca, but with some slight encouragement from my mother ('when will you ever be in Spain again?' Gotta love mothers!) I decided it was an opportunity I shouldn't miss. After all, how could I say no to a Spanish island?
When I left for the airport, I realized I wasn't as frightened as I had been in the past. After conquering spring break, I knew I could conquer almost any trip. It was then that it clicked in my head how much I have changed. I have gained skills without even realizing I was learning them.
My father always emphasized the importance of learning through doing. Before I left to study abroad, he told me how much he grew during his semester in Russia. “There’s only so much a classroom can teach you. The rest, you have to learn yourself.”
As college students, it’s easy to obsess over our grades and tests in pursuit of getting the best job or into the best grad school program. However, our lives are so much more complex than last night’s homework assignment or tomorrow’s exam. Throughout my time traveling independently, I have learned skills no amount of homework or class lectures could ever teach me. These skills are not abstract, but rather concrete and necessary skills for any job or program. For those who feel that independent travel may detract from studies, I want to convince you otherwise. If you still see travel as a diversion or pastime, check back daily this week to read about five very concrete and useful skills that traveling independently will teach you.