Greece & Turkey, before España!

I’ve only been in Madrid for a few days and I am loving it already! The food, the culture, everything is just so great! These first few days have been quite crazy, what with all the enrolments and looking for a flat. There is still so much of Madrid that I am yet to see, and classes don’t start until next week, so I will write briefly about the past five weeks of traveling through Europe.

I started off in Greece, visiting Athens, Mykonos and Santorini for a week and absolutely loved it! Here is a short video that I made to capture the trip:

After Greece, I went to Turkey for a week, stopping at Istanbul, Cappadocia and Pamukkale! Here are a few of my favourite photos from the beautiful country that crosses over two continents!

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I absolutely love traveling, and here is my take on it:

As a Communications student, I’ve studied topics like intercultural communication, covering verbal/non-verbal communication, low/high context cultures, cultural dimensions, etc.  However, no amount of studying can truly prepare you for the real thing, not that intercultural communication is particularly difficult, but books are not everything.

It’s when you’re placed in situations with cultural differences, language barriers in particular, that it becomes hard.  You learn to never assume, but as contradicting as it sounds, you also learn to read people.  Just by watching expressions and gestures, you slowly start to pick up some words.  Then, it just gets easier and easier with each new word or phrase that you learn.

You can either wait until you’re thrown into these situations, which may be during work meetings, job interviews, etc. OR you can go out and put yourself in them, to build your own confidence and communicative skills.

This is what I love about traveling, the learning process.  You learn so much about yourself, finding new interests and hobbies.  You also learn so much about everyone and everything.  Not only do you learn about the countries where your new travel buddies are from, but you also learn a crazy amount about the country that you’re traveling.  All those times in history lessons, when you can’t remember the names of the emperors and the dates which different monuments were built, everything seems to come together when you are seeing the actual site, rather than just a photograph of it.  Everything just makes more sense when it’s right there in front of you.

But most of all, you learn to never take anything for granted.  Simple things like fresh water, hot water, toilet paper, warm clothes, etc.  They all become a gift when you’ve had to live without them, and you learn to treasure everything that you have.

I also travelled through Italy and Switzerland before coming to Madrid!  More photos and posts about my travels pre-exchange can be found on my personal blog:
http://www.wineglassesboardingpasses.com

 

– Gabriella Kwok