Frances Evans / Contributor
The title is not a typo. I did indeed break my butt in Spain. I never thought I would be alone in a foreign city surrounded by nurses who didn’t speak English examining my fractured tailbone in a hospital that I had no idea where it was in the city, completely alone without any phone service to tell anyone where I was. But let’s back up.
I studied abroad in Barcelona in 2015 from January to May. I went to complete my Spanish minor requirements but learned much, much more than just Spanish. Studying abroad was hands down the best decision I have ever made. I know literally everyone says this when asked, “Would you recommend studying abroad to someone else?” But it is so true.
Growing up in Oklahoma and going to school in Arkansas, I’d never really been challenged. The biggest change I ever experienced was going to college two hours away from my hometown and living on my own. Of course in Arkansas, 1. Everyone speaks English 2. I had my own car 3. I could go home whenever I wanted 4. Everything I needed was just a phone call away and 5. I had plenty of friends. And then, I decided to fly across an ocean and live in Barcelona where 1. Everyone speaks Spanish or Catalan 2. I was forced to use public transportation 3. I could not go home whenever I wanted because of the whole ocean thing 4. No phone service, so I had to shamelessly pester waiters/managers etc. for their WiFi password and 5. I only knew my roommate, so, did not have plenty of friends (yet!).
"One day I was walking to my metro stop to get to class, feeling great, having a great day, listening to music with a smile on my face, when I somehow slipped on the stairs, landing straight on my butt and slid down every step."
Back to the fun butt story, one day I was walking to my metro stop to get to class, feeling great, having a great day, listening to music with a smile on my face, when I somehow slipped on the stairs, landing straight on my butt and slid down every step. Every. Step. The initial fall was so hard it knocked the breath out of me and I instantly thought, “Oh God I am paralyzed this is the end.” I sat on the bottom step of the metro, too shocked to even cry. A nice man and woman who saw the whole thing stopped to help. They called an ambulance because I could not stand. (Also these kind people didn’t speak English and my Spanish really wasn’t working at that moment so my only way of communication was just the helpless gaze in my eyes and soft sobs and also trying to breathe normally but more like gasping. Lol.) Eventually, the ambulance came and took me to a hospital. Again, I had no phone service or anything so I had literally no idea what I was supposed to do. Like do I have insurance here? Eventually I got a hold of my roommate and some friends from my program. They came and rescued me because the doctors were just like, “Okay you can go now.” And I was like, “But where am I?” Terrible day but now a very funny story.
Studying abroad was more than just having fun frolicking around Europe exploring new places and cultures. It really changed how I saw the world and it changed me as a person as well. Studying abroad challenged me to be a more independent person and be more open to change.As I grew more and more confident getting around via the metro, finding my favorite places to go, and getting better at Spanish, doing things on my own was so easy. I could really feel my independence growing.
"I carried this newfound confidence and acceptance back to America and have definitely become a better person because of it."
Especially after the broken butt ordeal. I started to gain a deeper appreciation for the culture and how people live their lives in Barcelona and really all of Europe. I carried this newfound confidence and acceptance back to America and have definitely become a better person because of it.
Barcelona absolutely stole my heart. From the magnificence of the Sagrada Familia, to the uniqueness of Park Guell and all things Gaudi. From Barceloneta, where there were spontaneous parades/festivals almost every other day, to the electrifying atmosphere of Camp Nou during an FC Barcelona game. Everywhere I went in Barcelona was a new adventure. I can never get over the fact I got to live in such an amazing city. I was so sad to leave but also so grateful for all Europe taught me.
You can follow Frances' adventures on Instagram.
June 19, 2017