Hi! My name is Ryan Ames (he/him). I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain with a UF Exchange Program as a rising sophomore during Summer 2021. My decision to choose this exchange program stemmed from my wanting to learn Spanish and to try my hand at doing research in a lab. The following fall semester, my professor offered me a position in her lab due to the experience I gained conducting research abroad. Studying abroad had me fall in love with research and begin to steer my career path towards academia. Living in Spain helped me become conversational in Spanish which I have tried and failed to do many times throughout the years. I became extremely close to the UF and non-UF people I met on the program and stay in touch with many of them. Studying abroad opens your eyes to other ways of living life. Even when the language, food, and architecture are different, you learn that people always tend to be warm and hospitable. You can always find amazing food wherever you are in the world made from ingredients you have never heard of. Studying abroad has given me that itch to continue traveling and eating across the world.