This journey to Spain has been incredible to me, and it is about to come to an end. I have seen and learned so much from this gap year, and I would forever cherish the memories I have for here. Although my primary intention was to come here and learn Spanish, but the journey has yet turned out to be something so much more than just that.
Apart from learning Spanish, the first thing that Spain offered to me was an opportunity to learn and get used to another culture. Learning a language is never just about memorizing vocabularies and mastering the grammar, the culture is another fundamental part of the process.
The Spanish culture is extremely different from the Taiwanese culture that I am used to, and it was both interesting and challenging for me to get used to it. I now see that in many ways, the culture forms and becomes a big part of the language. I also look forward to experience other Latin American culture in the future as I am sure that they would be different and fascinating to know.
The second thing I learned in Spain was how to be independent. I wasn’t fluent with Spanish at all when I first came here, and figuring out things like where to get student metro cards or buying internet data for my phone was a challenge, and conquering them one by one was extremely satisfying for me.
Living in your home country with your friends and family is completely different from living alone in a foreign country with a time zone difference of 6 hours. “Surviving” in a country where you don’t speak the language and without the help of friends and families is a challenge to overcome and a skill worthy to learn.
Putting yourself in a foreign environment is in many ways, a chance to start fresh. I have met people that I would have never had the chance to meet if I stayed in Taiwan my whole life. I also had to learn how to manage things on my own, and most of the experiences that I had here are unique and something I would always remember.
The third and most important thing that I learned was the appreciation towards my home and family. Before I came to Spain, Taiwan has always been somewhere that I in many ways, took for granted. I was so used to having my friends and family around, and the way of life was something I assumed would always be there.
Leaving Taiwan for a long period of time made me realize just how much I miss it, and the things I took for granted are actually what I should cherish. I guess the quintessence of travelling for me is to make me realize what I have and to value and cherish them more.
My year in Spain would always be something that I remember, and I certainly look forward to come back some day if possible. There are so many things left on my bucket list that I would like to tick off and I am confident that I would in the future.
Spain, goodbye for now.