Take A Moment And Appreciate It

The chance to study abroad is an amazing, once in a lifetime experience that I recommend everybody take, but I do know that it is an opportunity that many students do not get to have for one reason or another. As such, it is important to be grateful for this amazing opportunity. One way in which I have been showing my gratitude for my travels abroad is giving back and volunteering.

Upon our arrival in Spain, we were informed that there were opportunities to volunteer here if we wanted to take them. I jumped at the chance, especially upon hearing that the volunteering positions involved teaching, which is what I want to do after college. Some other students and I elected to volunteer a few hours a week assisting teachers in English classes. The three afternoons a week I volunteer are among my favorites!

The teachers and students are so appreciative of the time I spend in the classroom with them, little do they know how much they are actually helping me. Each time I volunteer, I leave feeling better about my day because I got to spend my time helping somebody. Each class offers new opportunities for me to learn a little about “real life” Spanish culture and some insider tips about the city that I’m calling home here in Spain.

While volunteering in such a manner may not suit everyone or their busy schedules, it is still important to take a moment while abroad to look around and be grateful to finally be here. It worked for me to wander a little and find a nice quiet area behind the cathedral where I could sit and think about how lucky all of us are here to get this experience, and even on tough days this is one of the most valuable parts of my day.

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Rynne O’Connor is a student at St. Michael’s College and an official API Student Blogger. Rynne is studying abroad with API in Salamanca, Spain.

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