Education Abroad Outside of the Classroom: The Importance of Adventure

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One of the most important aspects of education abroad outside of the traditional educational aspect is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and exploring different traits that you didn’t know you had.  One of the best ways to do this while you’re abroad is to explore!  The beauty of partner programs is that some of these exploring excursions are included in your study abroad experience.  Through my partner program(ISA) I got to explore several Mediterranean villages that otherwise I couldn’t have traveled to.  My absolute favorite place was Cadaqués, Spain.  It is a little Mediterranean village on the coast of Spain that is full of white-washed buildings, the clearest water you’ll ever see, and tiny fishing boats.

The trip to Cadaqués was one of the most fun parts of the excursion.  The village is fairly inaccessible and the quickest way to get there is by boat, which already sounded really fun.  We boarded a small boat and began the journey to Cadaqués.  In the middle of the trip, the captain of the boat thought that we would like to stop in the middle of the water beside a cave for a quick swim in the sea.  My roommate during my program was terrified but after a little bit of persuasion, she decided that she wanted to jump.  Almost everyone agreed that it sounded like an awesome idea so we took turns jumping into the water.  The water was as cold as the captain had described but it ended up being one of my favorite memories from Spain.  After we were all in the water we swam to a rock near the mouth of the cave and jumped off to go relax in the Mediterranean.  My hesitant roommate had an experience that she never thought she would do and I got to explore my adventurous side.  It was as amazing as it sounds.

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After we boarded the boat after our pit-stop, we continued on to Cadaqués.  It was the most picturesque place I have ever traveled to.  While we were there, we ate lunch at a seaside restaurant, shopped at local stores, and ate olives on the beach.

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While I was on this excursion, I learned that I can be spontaneous, courageous, and live outside of my comfort zone.  Jumping into very cold water with no life jacket and no certainty as to what was out there was kind of scary but even more exhilarating.  Although I consider myself an adventurous person, doing this reassured me that I can do daring activities and become even more self-aware than I already am.  My roommate got to become familiar with a whole new side of herself that she never knew was there.  That’s the beauty of the education abroad experience outside of the classroom.

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Madeline Mudd is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in International Studies. She participated in an Education Abroad program in Barcelona in the Summer of 2014 with International Studies Abroad (ISA).