Whether or not you trained for it, a semester spent studying abroad is a marathon. In the pursuit of “making the most of the short time abroad,” the only moments of rest are utilized recharging for the next outing.

Every weekend, of course, must have a full itinerary. Perhaps it’s occupied by searching out the best place for hot chocolate your city has to offer or its fabled espadrille shop, setting off to the mountains for a rugged excursion or traveling far and wide (thanks to budget airlines and cheap hostels).

But the weekdays too present boundless opportunities to peruse one museum before dinner (or maybe two museums if dinner starts at 9 p.m. like it does here in Spain), lose your breath to one more rooftop vantage or pass through one more barrio to uncover a bit of what the neighborhood has to offer. And you can be sure that the list will still have plenty of to-do’s by the semester’s end.

I think of my time at Georgetown, and I wonder if I have spent it as fully as I’ve spent my time abroad thus far. I believe the answer is no, but I won’t blame myself or call myself lazy and apathetic; I just didn’t know any better. Drawing from this, I want to define distinguish my spirit for adventurism at Georgetown as pre- and post-Madrid. This post-Madrid attitude will look to have more out of the box experiences. Have I truly exhausted all of the tourist options in D.C.? Beyond that, instead of just living in D.C., what does it mean to live D.C.? What spots and activities lay in that precious category, reserved for and celebrated by locals?

Sure, the demands that go with being a student on the Hilltop are more than those presented to students abroad. Even this most recent summer, which I spent in D.C., was more permissive of weekend activities in the District. Jazz in the Sculpture Garden Friday evenings, a trip to Roosevelt Island and salsa lessons at Café Citrón in Dupont Circle made the past summer a unique time for me at Georgetown.

But rather than being simply satisfied by these memories, I’m only assured of how much D.C. still has up its sleeve for me, and I am encouraged to seek it out when I get back, even if my essays and readings have to learn to share the calendar.

When does “it’s on my Georgetown bucket list” become “it’s what I’m doing on Saturday”? Why not this Saturday? Perhaps we won’t go as far as the streets of Rome or mountains of Patagonia back on the Hilltop, but outside even just D.C., Old-Town Alexandria and our Appalachian backyard are ours to enjoy. Time abroad sure goes quickly, but we should remember that it doesn’t go any slower at Georgetown.

This semester in Madrid is just over halfway done, and reflecting back on all that I’ve done in these weeks gives me a greater appreciation of what we are capable of jamming into our schedules and a lust for more adventures. And if, like Madrid, Washington has a jazz club open late on Tuesday nights, I’d be happy to start right there in January and make a marathon of my final three semesters.

3b3ea4cSéamus Guerin is a junior in the College. The Madrid Project appears every other Wednesday at thehoya.com

 

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