Bri Carter was a spring 2019 Barcelona student from Appalachian State University.
What was your favorite memory from studying abroad?
My favorite memory from studying abroad was the day trip to Sitges. As much as I love the city and the mountains for me, the beach is where it’s at, and Sitges was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The water was incredibly clear and blue, and it was the week of Carnival so the whole town was decorated in colorful ribbons and banners. We also enjoyed some gelato while there and some delicious tacos at a local restaurant called Vista Corona. I definitely recommend checking out Sitges as it remains a wonderful memory for me.
What did you learn about yourself while studying abroad? How have you changed?
For me, studying abroad made me realize just how thick my skin is. Not only are you in a different city and culture that you have to figure out how to navigate, but you will do doubt deal with many personal problems, as I did. Studying abroad really showed me the consequences of my decisions but also how to bounce back from a mistake and make the best of it. Since studying abroad, I am more resilient than before and calmer in the midst of a dilemma. I am also much more independent and have learned to value my mistakes and experiences as I realized they make you who you are.
What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?
I would definitely recommend going through a travel agent or company such as Waldorf as I did. They take a lot of the pressure off you when booking your initial flight to and from your host city, and they will make changes to your itinerary if needed. Also, a lot of times, travel companies will be able to get cheaper plane fares than if you were to book the flights yourself. Try to keep the weight of your bags within the airline limit as well so you don’t have to pay overweight fees as I did (it cost me about $300 to check my bags). If you also plan to do a lot of shopping while abroad, you’ll definitely want to save room in your suitcase. Most of the SAI host cities have public transportation but it can be confusing at first to figure out how to navigate. For this, I recommend downloading Google Maps on your phone as you can type in the address or name of your destination and the app will show the exact metro/bus route you need to take, as well as the walking distance. I know I definitely would have been lost a lot if it wasn’t for Google Maps. When traveling on the weekends I would suggest just bringing a book bag as it makes traveling light and easier, and you won’t have to worry about checking your bag which will save time and money. Also, make sure to keep sufficient cash on when traveling because it’s just more convenient and you won’t have to worry about being charged every time you use a debit or credit card. I also recommend planning out the sights and things you want to see and do when you travel because this will make budgeting easier, and you won’t waste time figuring out what to do. Some additional apps I recommend downloading are Hostelworld, a currency converter, Google Translate, Omio, Airbnb, Vueling, and myTaxi just to name a few.