After weeks of brainstorming what to bring, packing, figuring out flights, and racing the clock, the time finally came for us to head abroad to Barcelona. As I sat on a seven hour flight to Paris, and a little over an hour flight to Barcelona, I never could have imagined what I was about to experience. I had been trying to anticipate what it was going to be like; the food, the people, the culture, etc. Nothing could have prepared me for the experience I had the first week in Spain.
First, just meeting my roommates was an experience. We were trying to figure out each others names, where everyone was from, and what everyone was studying. We stayed up talking for hours the first few nights, just getting to know everyone. We spent the first week walking (miles and miles) around Barcelona, having family dinners, going to the local market, seeing all of the tourist areas, and just bonding as an apartment. The bonding was usually done over some gelato!
The week also consisted of trying new food, and getting to know Barcelona. The first weekend we tried paella, a Spanish dish, that in our case was filled with seafood! A lot of the girls were skeptical about this dish, but we all tried it. The biggest difference that we found with Spain, when it came to day-to-day eating was the coffee. It is half the size of coffee in America, but it is so good here. We also had a great time at the market where you could buy fresh fruit, meat, fish, and other great products. There are many markets like this all around Barcelona.
Our week ended with a tour of the “El Born” neighborhood and the Gothic District. This was a great way to end our first week because we got to see parts of Barcelona that we hadn’t been exposed to. Here we were able to see the Catedral de Barcelona, a beautiful cathedral in the Gothic District, many beautiful buildings and sites, and plenty of great restaurants! We ended our walk with a tour of the Picasso Museum where we were able to look at all of his great work throughout his career.
Barcelona is different than anywhere I have ever been, and I am eager to see all of the great places we will see next. Our first week was difficult especially not knowing the language or much about the culture, but as you immerse yourself in it, it gets a lot easier. I am excited to see where the rest of our adventure takes us!
Casey is a spring 2017 SAI Barcelona student from the University of South Carolina.