To all of you students preparing to leave for the most incredible semester of your life (it’s true…it really is the best time of your life), I’ll start off with saying I’m incredibly jealous of the amazing time you’re about to have wherever you plan on studying abroad.
It is quickly approaching the one year mark of the day I left for my semester in Barcelona and I still cannot believe all of the amazing experiences I had while living in Barcelona and traveling all over Europe. While traveling was definitely one of the most incredible parts of my semester, spending time in my new “home” city was equally as rewarding and the excitement never ended. Every day in Barcelona felt like vacation and I never felt like I was running out of things to see or do. Do not forget to take advantage of any free time you get no matter where you are studying abroad…. Some of the little experiences you have in your new city may be some of the best times you have! I always tried to explore the city when I had a break in between my classes, and this actually became a daily routine for me by the end of the semester.
Here is a list of some of my favorite things to do in between classes in Barcelona:
1. Venture to the beach and port areas
On beautiful sunny days, (which was almost every day) I loved to take a quick trip to the beach between my classes. All of the Barcelona beaches are very easy to access on public transportation or by foot if you want to explore the city on your way there. I loved to go sit on the beach and relax in the sun or take a walk through La Barceloneta.
2. Go to La Boqueria
For those of you who are not familiar, La Boqueria is a famous market in Barcelona with delicious food and drinks. My favorite thing to get here was the fresh fruit drinks that come in every flavor you could think of….And they only cost 1 euro!
3. Head to the Gothic Quarter
I loved to wander around near the Cathedral where performers were always out and about playing great live music. They also had flea markets set up quite a lot.
Although I usually didn’t actually know where I was going, I would just pick a street that looked interesting and somehow always made it back to a main road and back to class on time. I also always seemed to find great lunch places while wandering around that area.
4. Shop on Passeig de Gracia
The shopping in Barcelona was amazing and it was always nice to be able to take a stroll down Passeig de Gracia between classes since it was only 2 blocks from school. Sometimes I would also check out the little booths set up by locals near Placa Catalunya selling homemade jewelry and other cute gifts. There were also about 4 H&Ms within 10 minutes of campus….it was great.
5. Grab a café con leche para llevar and wander
I usually needed a mid-day coffee to keep me going for the rest of the day so one of my favorite things to do was grab a café con leche para llevar and just walk around or head to a nearby park. Sometimes it was nice to just take a relaxing adventure and see if I could find anything interesting. When my parents were visiting, we actually came across a bar/café named “Bar Timon” (like my last name), so of course we had to buy a coffee and take a picture.
So there’s a short list of some of the little things I enjoyed doing during the week to explore beautiful Barcelona. My advice to you: don’t forget to appreciate the little things and take advantage of the time you have because your time abroad will FLY by!!
Ashley Timon, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Last semester I studied International Business and Spanish at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in the amazing city of Barcelona, Spain. During my semester abroad, I was able to visit 8 different countries and many different cities all over Spain. Studying abroad in Barcelona was an amazing experience and definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. I look forward to sharing my experiences with other students and inspiring them to take a risk and study abroad.