Leaving the Fast Lane Behind

Tyler Wigington is a a student at Texas A&M University and an official API Student Blogger. Tyler is studying abroad with API this spring in Madrid, Spain.

Hi there!

My name is Tyler Wigington and I am a sophomore at Texas A&M University, but am currently studying in Madrid with API at Antonio de Nebrija University. I have been to Spain twice, once for two weeks with my AP Spanish teacher and other students and another as a Rotary International Exchange student for three weeks.

I decided to study abroad in Madrid for a semester this time for three simple reasons: I want to become fluent in Spanish, I am in love with the Spanish people and culture, and I want to grow as a global citizen.

Coming to this decision was not an easy one, though. After three semesters at the most wonderful school in the world, Texas A&M, I had fallen into place quite nicely with my friends, my organizations, and my academics. Therefore, when it came time for me to decide if I really wanted to go away for an entire semester, I had to step back and look at what was really important to me. Without a doubt, things would change. I wouldn’t see my friends for several months. I would not be active in campus life for an entire semester.

Ultimately, though, the pros far outweighed the cons of spending a semester in Spain. Would I ever have a chance to get up and leave everything to go spend five months in another country, meeting new people and learning a new language and way of life? Hopefully, yes, but realistically, no. This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. And of course, my friends would be there when I returned and I would get plugged back into the college life as soon as I got back. Thus, I made my decision to spend the spring semester of 2012 in Madrid, Spain and I do not regret it at all.

I have now been here in Madrid for a little over two weeks and am learning new things every day. Yes, I’m learning the language both in and out of class. Yes, I’m meeting new people. These are both great things and make this trip so worthwhile! However, I’m taking away an even greater lesson from the Spanish people and culture: how to relax and enjoy life as it comes.

For the past two years (and even past twenty years), I have lived an exciting, fast-paced life, juggling friends, family, organizations, studying, and an ongoing list of things. However, I have been so in a bind trying to manage each one of those that I have forgotten how to actually enjoy my surroundings and live life.

In these first two weeks, I find myself learning from the amazing Spanish people around me. I walk slower. I take naps (siestas), which are short (or several hour, in my case) naps during the day. I hardly look at my watch. I eat slower. I walk to the park just because I feel like it. I take time to talk to different people around me.

All of these things I have learned in the short span of time that I’ve been in Madrid. As a very motivated person, I have always tried to stay as busy as humanly possible, but here, I am learning to take life slower. The Spanish culture is all about enjoying life and people, even if this means that they take a little longer to eat or are occasionally (more often than not!) late to meetings or events. I am trying every day to get accustomed to this new way of life, so that I can hopefully bring a part of it back with me to the States in five months.

I am so thrilled to be writing about my time in Spain on this blog! Stay posted for more pictures and entries about life in Madrid, excursions, classes, and Spanish culture!



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  1. Tyler, you made me miss Madrid SO much! Great description and enjoy your siestas! 🙂

  2. Such a great thing to learn…the hard part is taking that with you when you come home, but you have a life-time ahead to figure out how to integrate this all! 🙂

  3. Hi Tyler – I love this post! I felt the same way about leaving my home univ. to go abroad and had the same sentiments once in Mexico. Thanks for sharing! (:

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