by Oriana Camara (Class of 2015)
On Saturday June 27th of 2015, I knew I was setting off for an adventure, but little did I know the gift it would bring me after a year of living and working abroad in Madrid, Spain. The thrill and ambiguity of traveling has always been something exciting to me. Discovering and understanding new cultures through experience is personally the most effective way I learn. In high school, I found interactive projects in classes such as Western World History taught by Mr. Leonard, and Current Events taught by Mr. Seymour, to be the best way to not only learn, but to retain information. To be honest, I left the states with mixed emotions. I knew I wanted to continue my education through experience and interaction, but leaving home where all was familiar wasn’t something I felt ready to do. Looking back, I now know that girl flying for the first time by herself miles away from home was ready. She had the curiosity and confidence, but didn’t quite yet know it. She was about to learn not just about her new surroundings, but about herself.
Working as an Au pair in Europe has been an incredible experience. I’ve been remarkably fortunate to have met international friends who were once strangers, roamed the streets of historic Spanish cities, and adventured through the mountains and beaches of Spain. This gap year has only reaffirmed my view of the beauty traveling withholds. There are no words or pictures that can vividly enough explain the adrenaline rush of visiting a place that to oneself is uncharted territory. Through this year abroad, my curiosity and confidence that was once veiled by some apprehensiveness has helped me gain a better understanding of my own personal beliefs and ethics. While I do think it will take a lifetime, or maybe two, to fully satisfy my wanderlust, my Spanish adventure has given me the gift of self knowledge and has lead me to so many magical people and places along the way.