What was your favorite class abroad and why?
I really enjoyed all of my classes, but one of my personal favorite classes was my Managerial Skills class. In this class, my professor really made the classroom a positive environment and used games and activities to help us better understand information. For example, there was one task where I was blind-folded using my non-dominate hand to stack as many blocks in 10 seconds. We ran three different trials. In the first trial, there was a “manager” that was yelling at me. In the second trial, the “manager” helped guide me through the process and help. In the third trial, I stacked the blocks by myself and in the trial I stacked 9 blocks (which was the high score). This taught me that when you are encouraged in a professional environment, you will begin to excel when you finally work by yourself.
What has your experience taught you about the world?
One of the biggest things my study abroad experience has taught me is how much more there is out there in the world to see. I grew up in Maryland and I have travelled a good amount of the East Coast, but when I was abroad I realized how much more there is in the world and how little I have covered. While I was in Spain, I also developed stronger communication (especially with people speaking another language), cultural awareness, and self-reliance skills and I learned many things about myself from traveling and the different cultural experiences I was apart of. This experience has made me realize that by putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, you live life to the fullest and you will experience life the way it should be.
What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?
- Make sure you pack a portable charger
- Some airlines will charge you for a suitcase and not printing out your ticket beforehand (like RyanAir) so make sure you read the information for the airline.
- Explore as many places as possible in your host country and do not be afraid to travel to new places you haven’t heard of.
- Make sure you do some research of places you would like to go before you arrive on your trip.
- When you travel to each city, try to eat/experience native things to the city.
- Reach out to any students you know studying in the cities you are visiting to ask for recommendations and to meet up!
What felt the most “foreign” to you when you came back to the US?
There were a few things that really felt foreign to me once I came back. One of the biggest things that felt foreign to myself was tipping. Although tipping a couple euros is appreciated, the servers are paid very well and tipping is not nearly as essential as it is in the states. Another “foreign” feeling was driving for the first time. In Barcelona, I took public transportation or would occasionally take a taxi, so returning and driving for the first time and depending on my car for transportation was a very different feeling.
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
Barcelona is a beautiful city and had more to offer than I could ever imagine. The weather had a large impact on why I enjoyed my time, since I was able to explore the city so much in my free time. One of my favorite things to do was to climb all the way up to either Bunker del Carmel or Park Güell and watch the sunset with some of my friends. When we were all the way up there, you could see all of the city and it was my favorite site of the city.
Kyle was a spring 2019 Barcelona student fromUniversity of South Carolina.