“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
Thanks to the Mentors Foundation, I was able to spend a semester basking (pun intended) in the Basque Country in Northern Spain. While in Spain, I studied Spanish and Culture at Universidad de Deusto. The program, thought-provoking and challenging while engaged in the classroom, encouraged cultural immersion and provided ways to get involved in the city and encouraged cultural excursions. My Spanish language skills improved immensely, thanks to my formal schooling, my immersion into Basque culture and my Basque family.
Not only did the Mentors Foundation help me achieve my goal of studying abroad, it instilled in me the importance of having invaluable mentors and a committed support system. I’m grateful for the guidance of my mentors and have received much encouragement and guidance through both the elating and the tumultuous times abroad.
I felt particularly grateful for my mentor after my purse, along with all of my documents of identification, electronics, money, photographic evidence of my abroad experience and various other documents were stolen from me. Though I was initially irked and frustrated, I found solace knowing that my family, friends and mentors supported me. It was an email from my mentor following the robbery that lifted me up and made me come to many thought-provoking conclusions about travel, materialism (or rather, the lack thereof) as well as appreciating and valuing my support system.
Besides this one setback, the Basque Country was perfect. I found a second home halfway around the world while learning an immense amount about myself and the Spanish language while developing a worldview and a global understanding and competence.