Global Experience Seminar Highlights: Granada, Spain
Ojaswi Dhakal’25 shares her experiences on a Global Experience Seminar in summer 2022. “Learning about history is helpful to learn about the present and take mindful actions that will make the future a better place.”
Sophomore Ojaswi Dhakal participated in the Granada, Spain, Global Experience Seminar in summer 2022. Ojaswi chose to go on this trip based on her prior interest in the region and its complex culture.
“I was interested in learning about Southern Spain because of the intersection of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. This was fascinating, given that three religions at that time in history were living there peacefully. Spain has been on my bucket list to travel forever, and the course and location made a perfect match!” said Ojaswi.
Ojaswi’s process of getting to Spain looked a little different from other domestic students on the program, since she is from Nepal.
“I needed to get a Schengen visa for the trip. The process was quite a hassle for me, given that there were no visa interview appointments available, and it was late April at the time already. Thankfully, I found a slot opened for nine in the morning. I took the morning bus and made it to the interview. I learned the essence of time management, and how learning and traveling go hand in hand,” Ojaswi explained.
While abroad in Spain, she faced heavy language barriers as she had no prior knowledge of the Spanish language. However, she overcame those difficulties through learning key phrases.
“The challenging part for me was the language barrier. I don’t have prior Spanish language background, which made it difficult to communicate on a daily basis. But then I figured out the beautiful universal words such as “gracias” to express my gratitude for love and kindness of the people and memories around me,” Ojaswi said.
Ojaswi embraced the new culture around her and found herself enjoying the Spanish way of life.
“I loved the culture of taking time for yourself to relax and unwind, which is a complete contrast to the hustle culture in the US. The 2-3 pm siesta time was amazing. It was unbelievable at first to find that we have allocated time for afternoon siestas. I loved how people would take time to have a drink and spend hours dining outdoors. Outdoor dining was the best!” Ojaswi said.
Along with being immersed in a new culture, she had the opportunity to experience new things and enjoy living in the moment.
“I remember the time when I went to swim in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. The water felt cold initially and it was little breezy, but then as I went into the water, time stood still. Me and my friend Leslie swam for literally an hour and went quite far; we knew we were far when the people we swam past started to appear tiny and we started seeing some boats. Less than an hour of time felt like an eternity. The freedom of being able to travel and live as a free individual dawned at me. I had a moment of intense gratitude for being alive,” Ojaswi explained.
One of Ojaswi’s main takeaways from this trip was that of societal hope for cooperation and peace.
“The history of Granada shows the possibility of how much better the world can be in terms of standing together and co-existing. Politics has been groomed to favor the politicians in their self-interest so much that people have forgotten the values that make humans stand out more than the rest of the animal kingdom. Learning about history is helpful to learn about the present and take mindful actions that will make the future a better place,” Ojaswi said.
Learn more about the Global Experience Seminars offered in Summer 2023. For Summer 2023, first and second year students will receive a $1000 scholarship if accepted to a program.
Global Experience Office
Pearsons First Floor