How to Survive your First Week in Barcelona

Programs for this blog post

January in Barcelona

Authored By:

Rachael B.

Bon Dia! 

That is Catalan for 'Good Morning". Didn't brush up on your Catalan? That's ok! Just be aware that Catalan is the official language of Barcelona, but most people will also speak Spanish and English. 

Welcome to Barcelona!

Photo for blog post How to Survive your First Week in Barcelona

(If you haven't decided where to study abroad yet, this is your sign!)

Barcelona is a vibrant and welcoming city, but it is very different from home. 

My very first words of advice is to make sure you do some research before traveling. You will get some basic information about the city from CIEE (read up!) but there is no harm in also doing some research on your own. I'm talking about good places to eat, places to see, cultural norms, and anything you can get your hands on. 

The more you know, the better off you will be! Of course, nothing can prepare you more than actually visiting the city and becoming a part of it. 

So how do you survive your first week in Barcelona? 

Photo for blog post How to Survive your First Week in Barcelona


The first few days you are going to want to do nothing but run around the city and see absolutely everything Barcelona has to offer. Soak in all the sights, learn how to get from your apartment, homestay, etc to other important buildings, and most importantly, make some friends! Barcelona is a very safe city, but I wouldn't recommend wandering around by yourself (especially at night) when you don't know your surroundings. You are also going to be sore from walking around everywhere, but embrace it! 

Get some rest

I know what you are thinking, "but you just said to explore!". Yes, explore, but it is also extremely important to get some decent rest. There is a good chance you are going to get at least a cold due to traveling, adjusting to the time zone, and being in a new city. Do yourself a huge favor over the first few days either call it a night early or take a break in the middle of the day. You do not want to be sick while on this trip! There are plenty of pharmacies around, but why risk getting sick when there are plenty of things you can do to prevent it early on. 

Be alert

It may be a little scary, but being an American tourist in Barcelona puts you at a much higher risk of being pickpocketed. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and put your belongings in a safe location whether it be in a special pocket in your jacket, or in a zipped part of your purse. Especially in the first week you are going to stick out, so it's better to be safe than sorry! You may think it won't happen to you, until it does. 

Don't be afraid to try new things 

If you are a picky eater, then that ends the minute you step into Barcelona! I'm not saying its impossible to find 'American' food to eat, but while in a different culture it is important to try new things that you aren't normally accustomed to. While in Spain you have to try croquettes, paella, tortilla, and many, many more amazing dishes. I guarantee you will be glad you tried something new, and your favorite American foods will be waiting for you when you go home! This also doesn't just go for food. Don't be afraid to try and speak more Spanish, wear different clothing, and learn how they do it in Barcelona! 

Everyone's experience abroad is going to be different but it is going to be yours. I guarantee you will want to come back one day but first impressions are important! Push yourself out of your comfort zone, while also being safe of course! 

Your first week in Barcelona is going to go by so quickly, and eventually, you will start to feel like a local!