My Global Theme
Studying geography and GIS it only seemed natural to have my global theme to be natural resources and sustainability. The earth is a finite source but we as a society have been using its resources as if it were infinite. It’s important that we limit our uses of these precious natural resources and studying abroad was a way to see how other countries were going about doing that.
Granada is located in the southern province of Andalucía, Spain. The city itself is warm and rich history as there has been evidence of civilization here since the 5th century. The Romans, Moorish, and Roman Catholics have all ruled the area leaving behind an ancient maze of neighborhoods paved with stone. The city is also a mix of Spanish and Moroccan culture as exhibited by the Arabic markets with traditional pastry booths and hand woven rugs hanging from the walls. This was the perfect place to experience a truly global study abroad experience.
While in Granada I took 4 classes at the Universidad de Granada, a fully Spanish speaking university. Doing all of my classes in Spanish was something very important to me as I really wanted to develop my language skills. I took 2 classes pertaining to my global theme, the planning and management of natural resources, and the urban planning of developing Spanish cities. In these classes we took multiple field trips to nature reserves and cities with sustainable development plans. I took away many valuable lessons from these experiences. Living in Spain itself was also impactful. The countries recycling facilities were everywhere making it easy to separate and dispose of glass, cardboard, and paper. I shopped all local produce and reduced my footprint by walking everywhere and utilizing public transportation. The infrastructures in places made it almost difficult to start living in an unsustainable way.
In Spain I met several other students who were also studying abroad and developed friendships that will last a life time. They inspired me to continue traveling and learning more of what the world has to offer. I learned about the corruption in small town politics in Mexico, the healthy bike riding habits of long term travel through South America, and how people survive the winters of Estonia.
While abroad I was able to also do some traveling around southern Spain as well as other countries including Morocco, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and Croatia. The experience I had was truly one at a kind and I’ve taken away valuable life lessons that wouldn’t have been possible without the Global Leadership Initiative. Overall, I’m excited to bring back the lessons I have learned about sustainability back to the States and get focused on how our country can begin to leave a smaller footprint as a whole.