Moving from The United States to Barcelona for almost 5 months sounded pretty terrifying at first. And trust me, I did not want to go the day before I left. I was crying and holding my mom saying to myself, “Why did I decide to do this?!” And then I remembered why, it was because I wanted to experience something different and wanted to be somewhere completely different on my own. It was an experience that I will never have again in my life and I had the opportunity so I knew I had to take it.
When first arriving in Barcelona I was obviously extremely scared about everything; even finding my way out of the airport when I first got there. I owe a lot to my study abroad on site advisor, Mireia, she helped me and our entire SAI group learn the best ways to explore Barcelona. She told us how to use the metro, what spots are good to hang out in, to meet to locals, and get lost in the wonderful city that is Barcelona.
I had amazing roommates who were all about exploring and finding new areas and wanting to make Barcelona feel more like home. When we all first got to Barcelona we went around the city together. The metro in Barcelona is extremely easy to figure out; it probably took me a week to know exactly where I was going. We spent very little time in our apartment, we had a lot of free time and we used it to our advantage. We fell in love with Barcelona so quickly because of how determined we were to make the most out of our time here.
We found great places to hang out like the beach in La Barcelonta or Le Cryano’s every Thursday night. We met the locals who are extremely friendly and welcoming, and we always tried to speak and learn the language and what better way than to talk to the locals! We also found amazing “hole in the wall” restaurants like La Taqueria right next to La Sagrada Familia. And most importantly during our time in classes we learned about the history and art of the city. The architecture is probably what makes Barcelona so famous thanks to Antoni Gaudí who built so many incredible landmarks in Barcelona. For example, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and the most known, La Sagrada Familia which started its construction in 1882 and is still being built and putting on finishing touches to this day.
A piece of advice that I would give to anyone studying abroad is to really get to know your city and explore as much as you can. I knew a lot of people that studied abroad and mostly stayed around the friends they had from their school in the states and didn’t really want to go out and explore more. It’s great to come with friends but make new ones and get lost! Leave your phone at home and experience the city the way you want to experience it. This is what you came here for!
In the Spring semester of 2016 I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and it was the greatest decision I’ve ever made. In those 4 months abroad I was able to gain new friendships, study new cultures, and learn a lot about myself. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad and I want to share my experiences and knowledge with students at my school and encourage them to take a risk that some might be afraid to take.