When I received an email from Brother Ray stating that we are officially going to Barcelona, I was ecstatic. I had the opportunity to help in the planning of this service experience and I was able to step outside my comfort zone to grow and learn more about myself in this process. This is when this whole journey really began for me.

Once we arrived in Barcelona, I learned quickly how language is connected to culture. This city was beautiful and after we all had our nap, we were so excited to finally see what this city is all about and learn about our mission here. Even with the language barrier the connections we made here were remarkable. Being able to give back to others gives you a feeling that is unexplainable.

We were given the opportunity to not just form relationships and learn from students but we were able to give them a brighter future. Learning about the education system in Spain and meeting with students was something that I will be able to bring into my future classroom. All students come from different backgrounds and this is not different in Barcelona.

However, the main reason we were there was not just to visit schools, there was a deeper purpose for our stay which was to help the lives of students by renovating their living facility. This was something I was very proud to be a part of, but it wasn’t just about accomplishing a project, it was knowing what we were doing would help improve the living environment of the boys that would stay there.

Although this project was physically demanding, it didn’t seem it. I couldn’t of asked for a better group of people to wake up early with, sit on a bus for an hour (after we got our fresh squeezed orange juice of course), and work for hours at a time before we were fed. Working as a group, listening to music, and waiting for mop boy is a memory I will never forget.

In Brother Ray’s teachings he has portrayed how important it is to create a community within your classroom. Each individual is an essential piece and only with all the pieces can we grow as a group. This trip showed me how worthwhile it was to build relationships with everyone who helped us along the way and all the wonderful students we met. Spending time in a place so different from my home allowed me to appreciate both what I have and what incredible gifts exist throughout the extremely diverse world in which we live.

Every member of this trip challenged me to become the best person I can. We are all so different individually and the fact that we all were able to connect on a deeper level was remarkable. There was no “I” on this trip. It was always about the group as a whole and that is a reason why this trip was successful. I never understood how my teammates or classmates looked to me but this trip opened my eyes to how people see me. I feel I have grown as an individual spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and I have a better appreciation of how important it is to give of myself and keep the Lasallian tradition alive.

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