All my life I’ve dreamt of going to Europe. This study abroad experience is my first time away from home for so long, as well as my first time on a different continent! It feels like a dream come true (somebody please pinch me). I feel so grateful to be able to experience and immerse myself in a different culture whilst gaining professional experience that will enhance my interpersonal skills and growth.
A big part of my first week was learning to navigate the transportation system. What I like about this city and program is the sense of independence that I feel. I am staying in a homestay, though essentially I am on my own when it comes to getting around Barcelona. It is an exhilarating feeling, and also a terrifying one. I have heard horror stories about the professional pickpockets taking people’s things without them even noticing. And worse, I did not want to stand out as a tourist. Though, with the help of Google Maps and Rome2Rio, I have managed to find my way through Barcelona on the Metro while feeling like a native. So far, I have yet to get lost (fingers crossed).
In my first week, I’ve managed to fall in love with the food that never leaves me unsatisfied. The local cuisine and restaurants are amazing. Have I mentioned the patatas bravas? Delicious cut potatoes with a spice sauce that lingers on my taste bus. Croquetas, crunchy ham sandwiches. And I can’t forget about the endless tapas. Do I have to go back to the States?
My first week in Barcelona felt so surreal. It was a bit overwhelming being that I have never been so far from home, especially for so long, though during the first week it was a good time for me to get a feel for the city that would become my home for the next two months. Arriving in Spain, I was mesmerized by all the beauty that surrounded me. The authentic gothic style buildings, the beautiful blue skies that were perfectly lighted my the rising sun, La Plaça de Catalunya, the vibrant, ever-changing colors of the Magic Fountain that illuminated in the water in the dark night. Not to mention, an amazing walking tour of the Gothic Quarters that are so full of history and mystery, visiting the Museu Nacional d'art de Catalunya, and the Barcelona Aquarium. I couldn’t help but take mental (and actual) images of views that I knew would be engraved in my memory for the rest of my life. My first week has been pretty epic and memorable, and I can't wait to see what else Barcelona has in store for me.