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Katherine Badia's semester with Maryland-in-Barcelona

Program: Maryland-in-Barcelona
Term: Spring 2023
Major: Government & Politics
Social Media Handle: @badiaenbarc on Instagram

Studying abroad was an invaluable experience that not only broadened my horizons but also opened up new opportunities in every aspect of my life, particularly in academics

One of the most delightful surprises during my time abroad was my deep affection for the course content I encountered. I found myself particularly drawn to the rich history and intricate politics of Spain. During my time in Barcelona, I would come back from class eager to retell the historical narratives I was learning to my roommates. Before this experience, I did not have a particular passion for global affairs. Studying abroad not only provided me with a comprehensive understanding of Spanish history and politics but also instilled in me a profound appreciation for international politics. This experience enhanced my academic growth and enriched my personal development, empowering me to embrace new opportunities and allow my love of learning to guide me.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad

Studying abroad as a person of color presented me with a unique set of challenges, but with the right approach and mindset, it is manageable. I would recommend that students of color do thorough research on the location they are considering for study abroad. Understanding the demographics and cultural context of the place you'll be living in can help you navigate potential challenges and prepare mentally. Additionally, seeking out and connecting with a community of individuals who share similar backgrounds can be immensely helpful. I was able to create my own community of students of color which helped me feel more comfortable. Also, don't hesitate to seek support from your study abroad program, university, or local resources. My program staff did an excellent job of sharing culturally diverse events that were happening in Barcelona. Making an effort to go to certain areas that had more racial diversity was also a great way to be in a more inclusive environment. Although moments of discomfort for students of color during study abroad are likely to happen, they can be a catalyst for growth. With the right community and resources, you can come out of these challenges with a greater sense of self while still feeling respected.

 A particularly memorable experience I had while abroad was a weekend trip I took to Marrakesh, Morrocco

From riding camels and savoring Moroccan mint tea to exploring the bustling souks and venturing into the Atlas Mountains and Berber villages, every moment was filled with awe and cultural immersion.

 If I hadn't studied abroad, I would have never discovered that my family's heritage is traced back to Catalonia in Spain.

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