Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia in Spain, is quickly becoming one of the most visited spots in the country. As a coastal city, it offers over two miles of beaches and features the largest port on the Mediterranean Sea. It is known mainly for its traditional culture, ancient architecture and incredible food.
The city has two official languages: Spanish and Catalan. While 98 percent of Barcelona is able to understand and speak Spanish, 50 to 60 percent can also speak Catalan, which is the native dialect of the region. When traveling there, most locals are bilingual, but some specific restaurants or shops may only be able to communicate in Catalan.
Known for its painters, Barcelona has been home to Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and many others. This epicenter of artistic ability also features architectural wonders built as long as 2000 years ago. La Sagrada Familía is perhaps the most recognizable gem. It has taken longer to build than the Great Pyramids and it is still not finished. Structures can be found from the Roman era, Middle Ages and modern day.
Whether it’s tapas or a three-course meal, there are several dishes for which Barcelona is known. The first is called paella, and it is a rice dish mixed with meat or fish. Another is Jamón Iberico, or cured ham, and the final is any type of seafood. If travelers order la mariscada, then they will receive a plate with an assortment of fish.
While I, of course, am willing to travel just about anywhere, I had never heard much about Barcelona before learning about the Missouri School of Journalism’s internship program there. As a journalism and Spanish double major, I always knew I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. I just never knew exactly where I wanted to go. I think that traveling somewhere in South America would certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I would also miss out on the opportunity to travel as much as I would be able to in Europe. Once I heard about the Barcelona internship program, I did a little research on the city and was immediately enraptured.
I plan on living and working in Barcelona the spring semester of my junior year, and I could not be more excited.