Victoria Salvatore 

I have always dreamed of going to Europe and experiencing a different culture, but it never became a reality until this year. 

For my Junior Journey, I went to Spain—and not only did I get to fulfill my dream of going to Europe, but I did it for free. I’m so grateful for the adventure I was able to have and I would encourage anyone looking into a Junior Journey to go for it.

The Junior Journey program at Florida Southern is incredible. When I applied to the college, it wasn’t even on my radar. 

In fact, I wasn’t planning on doing one until I looked at the available trips and saw the free Spain option. It blew my mind that there was a free trip to Europe, and I didn’t want to miss out on it. 

The trip was to southern Spain: we visited Madrid, Granada, Seville, Malaga and Cordoba. Each place was incredible and offered amazing historical and architectural sights.

Before going on the trip, I was ignorant about the lives of people outside of America, their culture and about Europe in general. Going on my Junior Journey opened my eyes to how other people live and that there are countries that do things better than America.

In my eyes, I saw America as being the best, and I wondered why people wouldn’t want to live here, but after my Junior Journey I’m ready to move to Spain or any other European country.

I learned that the culture in southern Spain is much more relaxed than America’s culture, and people don’t seem to rush around like Americans do. 

There are small cafes and tapas bars along the roads with outdoor seating where people enjoy an afternoon outing with their friends or significant other. People seem to be outside more, enjoying the presence of loved ones. 

During the trip, we stayed with host families and mine was a young couple that had visited America and liked the culture, but they also noticed that our culture is much busier.

One of the biggest takeaways from my trip is that I realized how young America is. It seems that every time you turn the corner in Spain there’s a huge cathedral or a beautiful building with some kind of historical significance. 

Having grown up in a newly developed area of Florida, I don’t experience the feeling of walking in an area that has thousands of years of history, but I experienced that during my trip.

My mind couldn’t comprehend how old everything was and I was in awe of the architecture.

Many of the buildings we visited had incredible architectural features that looked like they were meticulously created and to think they were built thousands of years ago without machines is mind boggling.

Traveling to another country gave me a different perspective on people outside of my world, and it’s inspired me to continue traveling and experiencing different countries.