Alright I’m going to be completely honest and say that I didn’t know Barcelona’s fútbol team was called the Barça when I applied to the program. During my entrance interview with our program director, she threw “Barça” into the conversation and I nodded and smiled and made a mental note about Googling it as soon as I left the room. Once I arrived in Barcelona, however, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind what the Barça was…
Everyone knows that studying abroad is extremely expensive, but a lot of times those program fees go towards some great experiences. This past Saturday, our group had the opportunity to go on a day trip to two medieval towns in Catalunya: We visited Girona and Besalú and everything was included (in our program costs).
Whenever I think I’m getting a solid grasp on Barcelona, I decide to find a new place or take a different route to get somewhere: These things are sure to put me back in my place. Barcelona is a large European city. And, like most cities whose beginnings occurred thousands of years ago, it is extremely difficult to navigate.
Language barriers are not the only struggle students who are studying abroad must face. Cultural differences are also a very real challenge, which I had not taken as seriously prior to my living in Spain. I had always heard that the Spanish eat dinner later and live a more relaxed lifestyle, but I did not expect this cultural aspect to affect so many parts of daily life.
So, we’ve been in Barcelona for approximately two weeks and what do we decide to do? Travel! None of us would have opted to spend a full semester abroad if we hadn’t been bitten by the wanderlust bug, so, naturally, about half of our 12-person group traveled to Lisbon, Portugal and the other half (including myself) flew to London this past weekend.