Study Abroad


BFOTB & I in our apartment before a big night out in the ciudad.

Whenever we can, BFOTB & I love to tell people we lived in Spain. It’s true. We did. We studied intensive Spanish at the University of Barcelona in the summer of 2006 and lived in a corner apartment with stellar views (and noisy traffic) of Diagonal near one of the most amazing places in the world: La Sagrada Familia.  The days we spent at the beach, the miles we walked exploring the city, the nights dancing, the wine we toasted with, the shopping, the laughing, the most tan we ever were (her in much grander fashion than I). — if there are glory days we’ll tell of, these are them.

I often reminisce about our adventures in Spain and think of how lucky I am to have such a memorable experience shared with my best friend.  That’s probably why I couldn’t help but donate some cash to two girls who showed up on my doorstep a few weeks ago asking for help in getting to London. Or wherever they were going.  The conversation lasted maybe 5 minutes and it went something like this:

Girls: We’re communications majors.

Me: So was I.

Girls: Wow, really? What do you do?

Me: I work in Marketing and Communications.

Girls: Really! Wow, no one ever does what they major in.

Girl 1: I want to be a writer.

Girl 2: I want to be a sports broadcaster.

Girl 1: We can’t find internships.

Girl 2: We’re scared we won’t find jobs.

Girls: We want to study abroad.

With this, I happily told the tale of my best friend and I gallivanting in Spain together and I could see the hope in their eyes. I’m young, I graduated from a Cal State too, I had internships, I’m employed, I’m married, I have a dog (that’s barking at them), and I own the house they’re standing in front of.  Wow. Sometimes we get caught up in wanting more and worrying about what’s next that we forget to enjoy where we are and what we have.  I let that lesson wash through me, got out my wallet and handed over some cash like I was unfolding a map.  I hope they use it. I hope they get there. I hope they travel and study abroad. I hope they enjoy it like I did.