Adiós, Alicante | A Complete Reflection of My Time Abroad

Twelve countries and a semester later, it’s hard to remember the person I was before studying abroad in Spain. It’s amazing all that happens when you are fully immersed in a foreign, unfamiliar context, and I must say studying abroad has been one of the best decisions of my entire life. The people you meet, the cultures you observe, the language you learn, the sights you see – it all becomes a part of you. These memories become stories to tell, and boy do I have a bucket load of them and tons of pictures to refer back on when it all becomes too distant of a memory. This semester has been one that is impossible to forget, and Alicante, Spain will always have my heart and be my home in Europe.

So much of this semester was formal learning inside the classroom and an equal amount of informal learning outside as well.  I was able to travel this much because I’d like to think that I have mastered the art of planning ahead and having top-of-the-line organizational skills. World traveler status: achieved! Because of this experience abroad, I could absolutely travel anywhere else in the world by myself (though I 100% prefer to go with other people), and carry my own with confidence! It has been awhile since I have shared with you all about my travels, (which have been plentiful), here are some highlights! Five months worth of traveling all over Europe in a brief synopsis if you will. To spell it out clearly, here is a list of all of the places that I have visited:

1. Alicante, Spain
2. Valencia, Spain
3. La Villajoyousa, Spain
4. Altea, Spain
5. Barcelona, Spain
6. Paris, France
7. Torrevieja, Spain
8. Granada, Spain
9. Brussels, Belgium
10. Dublin, Ireland
11. Maynooth, Ireland
12. London, England
13. Rome, Italy
14. Vatican City (Fun fact: the smallest country in the world)
15. Florence, Italy
16. Le Cinque Terre, Italy
17. Venice, Italy
18. Salzburg, Austria
19. Neuschwanstein, Germany
20. Munich, Germany
21. Interlaken, Switzerland
22. Elche, Spain
23. Seville, Spain
24. Lagos, Portugal
25. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Here are some of my favorite memories from my solo trip:

Another one of my top highlights was when my mom and sister came to visit me. The three of us met up in Rome, Italy and from there, continued to travel all around Italy during my spring break. We first stayed in Rome for a few days, and we had the privilege to attend Easter mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica and share mass with Pope Francis and thousands of other Catholics from all over the world! Not to mention, we woke up at the crack of dawn to sit in the sixth row in Saint Peter’s Square. It was worth it. We also managed to squeeze in visits to the infamous Spanish Steps, Colosseum, and Trevi Fountain.

Incredible. Italy is too die for pretty much anywhere you go. After we got a taste of Rome, we went to Florence, Le Cinque Terre, and finished in Venice. All of these cities have something super unique about them. I learned that in Italy there are technically 21 different regions with each of their own dialect, cuisine, and culture. How fascinating!

Florence was next – a city perfect for art history lovers as it contains many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture.

The Duomo in Florence, Italy

The Duomo Cathedral in Florence, Italy

From Florence, we took a day trip to Le Cinque Terre, and let me just say pictures do not do it any justice. Le Cinque Terre is comprised of the most lovely five coastal towns on the Italian Riveria called: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. I 12/10 would recommend taking a day trip!

Out of all of the places we visited in Italy, Venice is definitely at the top of my list. I have never been to any other place like it. Venice is contained of 118 small islands connected by 400 bridges, and you can only get around by foot in its super narrow streets or by boat from island to island. It’s beyond picturesque, and the locals are some of the most lively and friendly people that I have ever met! It was the little things about Venice like the live music playing in the square, being serenaded on the gondola ride, and seeing all of Saint Mark’s Basilica that made it so extraordinary for me.

Aside from Alicante and Venice being my top favorite places that I visited, London takes the number one spot. Alicante does not count because it is home, but London takes the cake on my favorite place that I visited outside of Alicante. London is my favorite for a few reasons. The vibe of the city is dope. I’m talking about a melting pot of cultures, yet still composed of a 21st-century English identity with buildings and monuments that have been around for centuries. It’s a very accepting city with everything you could possibly imagine as it is the largest city in Europe: fantastic food, incredible shows, sights, and museums to see, and so much more. I wish I had more than a weekend to spend there.

Studying abroad has been by far the most amazing experience of my entire life, and it will be a hard one to beat. Traveling to Alicante and living in a foreign country was initially the hardest thing that I ever had to do as the “culture shock” was real. Though there were difficulties living and studying abroad in Spain, I am a better, stronger, and much more well-rounded person because of the entire experience. The Alicantinos (people of Alicante) are wonderfully charming and relaxed and I would absolutely do it all over again. I am a truly changed person, and it is bittersweet saying goodbye to Alicante and returning home to the United States of America. However, I rest well taking comfort in a quote attributed to Saint Augustine:

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”


Miss Amanda Rosemarie


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