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Finals Season

By billienkatz

Somewhere in the midst of all of the traveling, immersion, independence, and figuring out where the 'study' fits into study abroad, this semester has flown by and I now find myself facing finals (not to mention the task of figuring out how to get all of my belongings back home). As a college student I always feel that finals fall at the most inconvenient time; however, this semester it's actually true. The way IES designed our academic calendar was that finals would begin right after Semana Santa, which was designated as our Spring Break. This means that after traveling for 7-10 days we suddenly have to come back to Barcelona, buckle down, and study? It seems like a simple task, but facing only eleven days left in this city and this study abroad experience, the last thing I want to do is spend time indoors studying.

Yesterday I spent the day walking all around the city and exploring the neighborhoods I kept saying I was going to go visit, and never did. This activity reinforced how vibrant and beautiful the city of Barcelona is, and how lucky I have been to be able to call it my home for the past four months. Now, the idea of preparing for finals and getting ready to say my goodbyes is both overwhelming and terrifying. I'm too conscientious of a student to forgo studying for my finals, but I know that this means I'm going to have to neglect some final explorations around the city. All of this is then met with the unsettling idea that I am about to board a plane back to New York, never to be with all these new friends in this same context of living and learning in Barcelona ever again. Seriously, IES, with this brewing internal conflict and potential end-of-study-abroad-crisis, how am I ever supposed to appropriately study for my Spanish Final? Not to mention that I'm still savoring the memories of my Spring Break trip that concluded  yesterday...this is almost too much for me to wrap my mind around.

I'm generally a person who has a set A to Z plan with plans B, C & D ready incase something doesn't go as planned. However, with eleven days to end my junior year of college, to pack up and leave Barcelona, and to try and make the days pass as slowly as possible, I'm at a loss for a plan, a means of organization, or a clear idea of how best to spend my time. What I do know for sure, however, is that Barcelona and this semester will always hold a coveted space in my memories and how I continue to live my life and view the world around me. Studying abroad is truly a milestone of an experience, and one that you cannot fully grasp until it is suddenly over.