Spain has many great things but what I’ve missed the most from home is the ease of communicating in a language that is comfortable to me. Although my Spanish has improved immensely it is still not nearly as comfortable as English. Nine months without being surrounded by my native language reminded me how fortunate I am to live in an environment that I find comfortable. Spain is a beautiful country and I’ve loved living here, what I will miss the most are the friends I’ve made while abroad and the beautiful places in Seville. Becoming friends with local students was one of the highlights of my semester, because of it I got to know Spain and its culture better. When I return home I don’t think I will experience any culture shock. While home for Christmas break I adjusted back to culture and had time to reflect on my first semester before going back to Spain. Now at the end of my second semester I am already familiar with the feeling of returning home after being gone for a long time. Now at the end of my nine months I’m ready to go back to the states and reengage with life at Western. Studying abroad provided me with many wonderful experiences that I would love to keep in my life. Speaking Spanish with native speakers is one experience that I plan on maintaining while I’m back in the states, Spanish friends and I have planned to keep speaking by Skype to practice. My nine months abroad have changed my appreciation for other cultures and have inspired me to travel more of the world.
After 6 months living in Spain my favorite part remains the slow paced Andalusian life. Every day I wander the winding cobblestone streets of Seville and watch Spanish life unfold as it has for centuries. Seville is a very relaxed city known for its life ‘sin prisa’ or without hurry. The locals here are very friendly and outgoing, I have met many Spanish students who are eager to do Spanish-English language exchanges with Americans. Every week I meet with locals over coffee to practice Spanish and help them with their English which has been a great way to make new friends while also learning the language. The university I go to is one of the oldest buildings in the city, once a royal tobacco factory it is now one of the prominent tourist attractions in the city. Every day hundreds of tourists walk through the school amazed at the university I have the privilege of attending. My classes are a mix of fun and educational with topics ranging from Spanish cooking to painting the city. My classes are only for Americans so I have met many unique and creative people from all over the country. Once a week I volunteer at an elderly residence for men in the city center which has helped me practice my Spanish while acquiring volunteer hours. The residence is a historic former-hospital in Seville that has been converted to part museum and part elderly residence. At the residence I’m given a different task most visits, normally I do puzzles or play dominoes with the men but sometimes I help staff with chores. Since this is my second semester in Spain I didn’t experience any culture shock when I arrived, I was already adjusted to life in Seville. Before I arrived I wanted to speak more fluently by the end of the semester, my Spanish has improved significantly since I’ve been here and I expect with more practice I will eventually speak fluently. My semester so far has met my expectations, I’ve stuck with my goals and hope to continue improving over time.
Since September I have been studying Spanish for my Spanish major in Seville Spain. After finishing the first semester and going home for Christmas break I’m now preparing to return to Seville for my last semester abroad. While I’m studying abroad in Spain I hope to gain fluency in Spanish so that I can be a more culturally educated person competent in communication. Mastering a foreign language is a ubiquitous goal for many students studying abroad, but many underestimate the effort and commitment a full language emersion requires. Last semester I started my year abroad intending to be fluent by the time I finished the school year but after weeks of only being around American classmates I realized that a full language emersion requires much discipline and motivation to accomplish. My experiences last semester have better prepared me to accomplish my goal because I know what to expect and how to avoid being only around Americans. This semester I’m most excited to engage more with the Spanish language and see what opportunities arise from being around locals more. Last semester I spent most of my time adjusting to Spain and traveling with American friends but now I want to be primarily focused on speaking Spanish. I’m nervous about having a hard time finding consistent Spanish contacts to talk with every week but I’m confident that locals are eager to practice English as well. To overcome these obstacles I’m going to find volunteer opportunities that require me to talk to locals so that I can practice Spanish. This semester I optimistic and motivated to accomplish my goals and go back to Western fluent in Spanish.
It has been some time since I have finished my stay in Madrid. I often think of the city that I called home for a month and reflect on my time there. One of the biggest takeaways that I have gained from my international experience is just that, international experience. My program abroad gave me the skills to become a more global citizen, I have now lived in another country and I have had the opportunity to understand and live in another culture. I have spoken a different language, lived life, eaten, went to school and enjoyed life like a Spaniard for a month. My experience has given me the opportunity to understand Spanish life with a deeper understanding than I have before. Also, since I have Spanish for many years I have gained a confidence with the language that I would not have otherwise gained if I was not immersed in a Spanish speaking culture.
My advice to students considering study abroad is to do it. There might be some hurdles in the way of you doing it but once you have overcome them and studied abroad you will be grateful that you did. Studying in another country is an experience like no other and will serve you for a very long time. It might seem scary or daunting but the obstacles of study abroad will make you a better person for it. I would also advise that students, once they have picked a location, research the place they will be living and become as knowledgeable as you can about your new home. It will serve you well.
As I reflect on my experience, there is just one thing that I would change. I would have liked to have traveled more. There are not very many weekends in a month and I was able to get the most out of them but I would have liked to travel to different locations and to have seen more of Spain and Europe. But it does provide me with an incentive to return again. I would one day like to travel and live abroad again, perhaps as a teacher.
My overall experience has been a tremendous achievement of mine. There are things about Madrid that I miss and long to experience again. The opportunity to live in Spain was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am glad that I did it. The experience has meant a great deal to me and can’t put it into words as there is a mixture of emotions about my experience. But there is one thing that I can say, it was an amazing experience and one I will never forget.
As I prepare to go home I am beginning to realize that I am going to miss many things. But there are things that I have missed about the United States. The main thing that I miss from the United States is my family. Traveling and living half way across the world and only being able to see them through Skype or talk to them on the phone has been difficult. The other thing that I have missed is the variety of food. In Spain there is not much variety when it comes to ethnic food. The main type of food here is Spanish food and sometimes I long for Mexican or Asian food, which I cannot find here.
The thing that I will miss the most from Spain is constantly being surrounded by history and being immersed in the Spanish language. I will miss the winding streets with balconies and wide open plazas. I will miss going to the art museums and having a picnic in the park. Many of the quintessential Spanish things I will miss the most.
I do not think I will experience reverse culture shock when I return. The hardest part of culture shock was when I first arrived to Spain. There were a lot of different things I had to adjust to and I had adjusted just as my time here is coming to an end. On the other hand returning to the US will not be as difficult because I am familiar with it.
Since I will be returning to the US before the school year starts I will have more time to adjust. I plan to resume my daily life and begin to make things normal again to lessen the effects of reverse culture shock. I plan to share as many photos as I can with my family and friends and share with them my experience. My study abroad experience has been an important part of my education and I plan to incorporate as much as I can of what I have learned into my life and in the future. I plan to maintain the friendships that I have made here and to continue to communicate with my host family. My Spanish is a part of my everyday life so this will be much easier to maintain than other things that I have learned. One thing that I have learned while abroad is to remain engaged and informed with events not only in the United States but other countries as well and that it is an effective way to remain internationally engaged.
It’s a little over a week until I will depart on the biggest adventure of my life thus far. I will be boarding a plane to travel half way across the world, to a place that I have only dreamt of. I have studied, read about and seen movies about this place but now I will be stepping foot on the very land itself.
It is surreal for me to think that I will be in Spain and destination of my dreams. I had fallen in love from afar when I first saw Real Madrid play in person and from there on I took an interest in the city. I began to study Spanish in high school and immediately took to it and later on after three years I knew I had a passion for the language and the land from which it came.
It is strange for me to think that I will be one of the few of my family that has made it back to the land from which our ancestors left almost 600 years ago. To think that I will be seeing parts of cities and a land that they too had seen is hard to believe but also humbling as my trip to study abroad is not only one for study and self-discovery but one of familial discovery.
Since I have studied Spanish for many years, I feel like I have been preparing for this trip my entire life. I have heard stories of our ancestors and their origins, taken classes about Spanish culture and have studied the very language that they speak. But the more that I learn about and discover from my research I know I chose the right destination for myself.
One thing I hope to gain from my experience abroad is to become more confident in my language skills. It is not often that I find myself using my Spanish in my everyday life since in the U.S. we mainly speak English but I hope being in a completely immersive environment I will be forced to use the language, learn and to put myself in awkward language situations where I will have to push through the awkwardness and to navigate successfully.
Part of the experience abroad is to experience the culture and this is one of the things I am most excited about. Madrid is home to some of the most famous pieces of art in their many museums in the city. I’m sure anyone that has studied Spanish, history or art has seen one of the most fampus Spanish pieces, Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. It is one of the most studied and celebrated pieces of Spanish baroque art and bring many people to Madrid to see the mysterious art piece. I am looking forward to visiting this piece among others in the multiple museums throughout the city.
I am most apprehensive about navigation. I know this is essentially what travel is, navigating my way through the new and unknown places. But the best piece of advice I have been given for this is simply: ask questions. If you are unsure of where you are going, ask. Despite my nervousness for navigating the unknown I am also excited for it. I am excited to travel into uncharted territory with my language and knowledge of the city and country, I will begin one of many journeys to Spain.
I have been in Madrid for a little over three weeks by now. I still haven’t quite adjusted to the heat yet and the fast pace of life but I am finding a sense of rhythm and routine. One of my favorite things thus far is the architecture of the city. It seems like around every corner there is a new and interesting building to stop and admire. Even down a simple alley way, you can find a colorful pink building with Juliet balconies lined with flowers. In the busier parts of the city the grand and ornate buildings of the Plaza Mayor or the Palacio Real are easy to encounter.
I take classes at a local university that is located just outside the city and easily accessible by the Metro. Tucked into a quite area of Madrid is Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. I attend classes there most of the week unless I am having class in one of the various museums in the center of the city. I am taking two classes while I am here, a class about European art and another about travel writing. Since it is the summer and many students are away on vacations it seems the only students on campus are the ones in my program. There aren’t many activities or clubs since it is summer holidays but on the flip side, the spare time allows me to explore the city more.
My experience with the locals is at times brief, I spend much of my time with the locals on the Metro (the underground subway of Madrid), ordering at restaurants and conversing with my host mom. But overall despite the busyness that there is in Madrid, the locals are kind and willing to help, despite the lack of Spanish vocabulary in some instances which can make conversing difficult at times but worth it since it can be used as a learning opportunity to learn new words.
My university in the U.S. had prepared me for what was to come: culture shock. I thought I wasn’t going to have a problem with culture shock because I knew the language and I felt like I had studied the culture and history my entire student career. But was I wrong. In my mind Madrid wasn’t a big city and it was going to be one of the small Spanish towns that you see on postcards. I had an idealize version of the city and when I first arrived I was struck with the sheer size and multitude. I should have expected it to be as large as it is because it is the capital of Spain. Upon arrival I quickly realized that I would have to use the Metro system to get about everywhere in the city. The web of lines, trains and stops was intimidating at first but once I understood how it worked, it became much easier to navigate my way to the various parts of the city.
In hindsight, I wish had researched more about the city and how it functioned. Much of my research has been on the job training as I have been going about my days here in Madrid. I feel that more research of the city would have lessened the shock I received when I first arrived. But on the other hand, having to figure things out on the ground has helped me grow as a person and as a traveler.
It’s been 17 days since I arrived in a bus to Granada, my body full of sleep and my mind full of the chatter of strangers. The world looked blue out of the tinted windows as I watched hill after hill go by, white houses like snowflakes scattering the countryside. Andalucia is beautiful. History here is so tangible and common – most of those snowflake houses are now in ruins, a fragment of the family that used to live there. These places in the US would be hunted out, given a groundskeeper, and to visit you’d have to brave through no-trespassing signs.
So, yes, for those of you who’ve read my last post, I’m not over it.
As enchanting as the country side is, I am here to be a student. Studying at Universidad de Granada is (and there’s no other way to put it) freaking cool. El centro de lenguas modernas is based in a beautiful, all white building, with a courtyard in the middle and big trees that grow up the pillars. There are free pencils in case you can’t find your own. The books cost never more than 25 euros.
The teachers are a lot calmer here. There is more flexibility to talk about other things – the ultimate goal is to improve Spanish, and the teachers get that. It’s so nice to be in my Culture of Spain/Flamenco class and have long conversations about the gitano population in Granada specifically, and fun things to do in the Sacromonte neighborhood. The professors also talk wonderfully slowly so that I can keep along with my clunky Spanish.
However, it isn’t all perfect – the Spainard schedule is something that is so hard for me to get used to. I pride myself on being annoyingly punctual and everyone in Spain is always. Late. I have a 25 minute walk to classes, and at 8:00 in the morning my brain is in overdrive to get me to where I need to be on time – I can tie my shoes in under 5 seconds – and I speed walk up hills, through crowds, across streets, down alleyways, past croissant and cafe for 1 euro shops, through plazas, down another alleyway and finally through the doors of el centro – just on time, a minute left to get to class. And so I do – and the professor doesn’t get there for another 5 minutes.
This might seem like a silly thing to be struggling with – those are 5 minutes more I could sleep, right? I could walk slower? I could buy breakfast along the way? I could chill out????? I understand common sense. I understand that these are all perfectly normal reactions to having professors that are consistently late and attendance that doesn’t start until 15 minutes into class time. I get it, I do, but, in the words of every 16 year old from 2010-2017, I just can’t.
Growth and adaptation to Spain, I guess, will be measured in how late I start to arrive to classes.
As you can probably tell, I am a functioning adult ready to thrive in society (haha). So something else that has been a huge struggle for me is food. I have lived on my own for 2 years, and cooked all my own meals. I’ve gotten proud of my cooking and even adopted the title “All Right at it”, so I know what my body likes and needs to feel good and healthy.
Here, someone else cooks all my meals.
And I’m grateful! It’s nice to be able to just waste time until I get called to eat something someone else put effort into. It’s really nice not having to do the dishes. But everything here is salty. Incredibly salty. As in even the salad is salty. And there is very little of said salad to begin with – I have gone from a diet of 70% vegetables to a diet that’s 80% bread. It has been incredibly, incredibly difficult for me – I’ve resulted to sneaking arugula on my dinner when my host mom isn’t eating with me, to picking up cucumbers at a fruteria and eating it whole, to keeping a stash of munchable greens under my bed.
However, I do have to say, my senora sometimes gives us these delicious, tiny empanadas filled with what must be a tuna/tomato sauce. It is the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my life abd makes all the salt worth it.
So, here’s my advice for anyone considering living in Spain with a host family – open your mind. There is no amount of research that can prepare you like how opening your mind can. Communicate. Don’t hide vegetables like I do. Find easy, clever ways to get the food and the things you need (like how arugula can go on literally anything). Make things easy for both of you!
First Days in Spain
One of the things that drew me to API was the abundance of included trips, excursions, and activities… and the first week of the program was no exception!
Upon our arrival in Spain, we were directed to meet in an area of the Madrid airport at the pickup time. Our program director took us to the bus that was waiting outside, before continuing on to the other terminal where some other members of our group were waiting to be picked up. As the first students to arrive, we were lucky in that we had almost the entire day to spend exploring Madrid, and exploring we did!
Madrid is a beautiful city, big but entirely walkable, touristy but somehow not (we were able to speak Spanish at most restaurants), and affordable in terms of food and drinks, which brings me to my favorite things that we did during our brief stint in the capital of Spain.
1. Palacio Real
Beautiful, extravagant, and a good introduction to the history of the royal family in Madrid. The signs inside the palace are minimal, so I would recommend visiting on a guided tour. With API, we had a great tour guide who was sure to point out the size of King Charles III’s nose any chance he got.
2. Mercado de San Miguel
If you’re looking for a fun way to try a whole bunch of different kinds of food upon your arrival in Spain, Mercado de San Miguel is the place to do it. The market is filled with tapas stands, bars, kiosks, and every sort of food you would find at a tapas bar but more! We stumbled upon this during our free time in the city. The paella was delicious, and the tapas selection was larger than any one restaurant could offer.
3. Museo del Prado
Museo del Prado is Spain’s national art museum, with the world’s largest collection of Spanish art, originally the Spanish Royal Collection. Give yourself at least two and a half hours to walk around the museum, but you could certainly spend an entire day here. We had a tour guide, which was definitely helpful if you aren’t very familiar with Spanish artists.
4. Plaza Mayor (and Surrounding Area)
Plaza Mayor was built during the Reign of Phillip III, and is now a good place to sit outside and have lunch. The area around the plaza was great to walk around, and there are many tapas bars, gelaterias, and other plazas to walk through. Fun fact: some restaurants in Spain raise the prices of items on the menu if you eat outside, although mostly just by a euro or two (this will be shown on the menu). We opted to eat outside to enjoy the sunshine, but most restaurants also offered indoor seating.
From Madrid, we stopped in San Lorenzo de El Escorial to see El Escorial, which is a historical residence of the King of Spain, and currently houses a school, a monastery, a cathedral, and a pantheon. Having once functioned as a summer palace, the simplicity of the building was a bit of a surprise after Palacio Real.
After El Escorial, we headed to Toledo, which is the religious capital of Spain, and was the actual capital of Spain at one time. The walled city is comprised of winding roads and Moorish, Jewish, and Christian monuments.
Following Toledo, we hopped on the bus to Córdoba, which was a very charming city with history rooted in the Middle Ages, most famous for La Mezquita, which I can’t rave about more. It is definitely a must-visit if taking a trip in Andalusia, and our entire group was in awe of the Cathedral turned Mosque turned Cathedral.
After a day well spent in Córdoba, the twenty five of us loaded back on the bus, headed to our new home: Sevilla!
Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia, most famous for being the home of the Alcázar and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, as well as Plaza de España. So of course, during our first two days in Sevilla, API arranged for us to visit these places!
Sevilla has the character, history, and culture that one would expect of a city in southern Spain, with endless amounts of restaurants, tapas, bars, clubs, shops, bullfights, flamenco shows, and sights to see. Unsurprisingly, I am already in love with our new home, and can’t wait to explore it some more!
With my re-entry into life in the states, my study abroad (and two extra weeks of travel) have come to a close. Leaving Europe was one of the hardest things about growing abroad because I knew my amazing time had to come to an end. And although I am no longer studying abroad, the experience itself still impacts my day to day life.
As I previously detailed, being abroad helped me grow and taught me a lot of lessons that influence how I live my life in the states. The amount of independence, new experiences, and immersion into a different culture thrusted me into a six week situation where I was able to adapt to the environment I was living and reflect on how I conduct myself back home. This chance to see and experience a different way of life was perhaps one of the best things I derived from studying abroad.
As I re-adjust to being back home, I am able to look back at the events of and leading up to my European adventure. I can say in much confidence that studying abroad was one of the best things I have ever done for myself, and I would not trade the experience for anything in the world. It is such an amazing opportunity to be exposed to, and to be able to study abroad at this age in our life is that much better. There will never be a better time to go because there is nothing holding me/people my age back. The hardest part, for me especially, in deciding to go abroad was contemplating whether it would be worth the money. I specifically remember about a month before leaving considering dropping out due to concerns about the cost and figuring I could just travel another time. I am beyond grateful that I did go. Studying abroad was worth every single penny and then some. The memories I made, the challenges I encountered, the friendships I developed, and the lessons I learned will last a lifetime.
Another surprising outcome of traveling abroad was that now that I have lived in a different country, I realize how doable traveling and perhaps even moving to another country is. Now that I have done it, I want to go back- the sooner the better. Instead of always saying “One day I would love to see Italy” or “when I’m older I want to see Greece” I now just know I want to work abroad. Having my foot out the door (studying abroad in Barcelona) gave me the push I needed to realize that I very easily could be travel in the years to come.
All in all studying abroad was the most impactful month of my life and cannot say or express enough how beyond grateful I am that I had the opportunity. The best piece of advice I could give to anyone considering studying abroad is to simply go out and do it. Yes, its expensive but it is worth the experience. Work hard to make sure studying abroad is possible, and if it is take the opportunity to do it because there is no better time in life than now to take the plunge.
With finals completed, some friends having already left for home, and my metro passes running out- the end of my time in Barcelona is officially closing in and I am having a hard time leaving. My month in Spain has been unparalleled, a cultural experience that surpassed any preconceived expectations. Living in an entirely new place truly helped me gain a different perspective on life.
No matter how cliche it might be for someone to say that traveling/studying abroad changed their life, for me it really provided the opportunity for reflection and growth. Being outside the borders of my life back home, there are certain aspects of my own life that I have had time to evaluate and decipher. Being abroad has certainly showed me things about the American way of life that I am not so fond of (i.e the driving culture, unhealthy food being much cheaper than fruits and vegetables, lack of social expenditure) but also some things that I take for granted (i.e good customer service, free water and bathrooms, less cigarettes everywhere). I also have been able to think about my life in terms of my future goals, and am becoming more comfortable doing things by myself. Ultimately in studying abroad thus far I have gained so much knowledge, the majority of which occurred outside the classroom setting.
As I start saying goodbye to my friends, my apartment, this city and essentially my life in Barcelona I have to express my fondness and appreciation for this opportunity. I have never appreciated my friends and family as much as I have being thousands of miles away. Living in completely different countries and time zones has let me reflect on my priorities in life and how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do (I apologize for the sappiness of this sentiment). Barcelona has provided me the experience of a lifetime and I will apply my gained experience/outlook throughout my future endeavors.
I want to thank my host study abroad institute, CIEE, for exceeding my expectations. They included so much into my program that helped adjust us into a new culture, taking us on excursions, field trips, to cooking classes, and even appointing us ‘guardian angels’ (a few local college-aged students to accompany/organize events around Barcelona). Another appreciation goes to everyone who encouraged me to study abroad as there certainly were times leading up to my departure where I questioned not going. Finally, my parents deserve the utmost love and thanks as without them I would never be able to have done this, for this I am beyond grateful and blessed.
As I gear up to fly out I can say that 100% without a doubt, studying abroad was completely worth every single penny and was easily one of the very best decisions I have ever made and perhaps one of the greatest things I could’ve ever done for myself. Although I am saying goodbye (for now) to Spain, my European adventure is not quite over. I will be bopping around Europe for two more weeks before heading back to the U.S. I will miss this wonderful city, my home away from home. Until next time, I love you Barcelona.
I have officially hit the half way mark of my study abroad session in Barcelona, throughout which I have shifted away from feeling like a tourist on vacation and much more like a student/resident of Barcelona.
Despite my heinous lack of sense of direction I can, for the most part, ride the metro places without having to have one of my friends or roommates accompany me. I am also starting to be able to order food or ask for directions without feeling clueless. It’s safe to say that I am adjusting to this new normal and am absolutely loving it. There are major points of contrast in comparing Spanish and American cultures, some of which have been harder to adhere to than others (i.e. eating dinner at 10pm and having half the city shut down in the afternoon for siesta). The Spanish lifestyle I have been integrating into here is much more laid-back and blissful. Whether it’s handpicking your food of the day from a local market or fruit stand (because buying in bulk is fairly uncommon), spending two to three hours at a restaurant simply enjoying the company of friends, or walking to the beach, there is no rush here in Barcelona.
So far, my experience abroad has been insane and such a fantastic opportunity. I am growing closer and closer to other students in my program and doing my best to thrive outside my normal environment. We have been developing friendships with people all of whom are out of their comfort zones and experiencing an adventure of a lifetime together. I have already gotten to see so many stunning places and continue to experience different things that I couldn’t do anywhere else such as: taking a traditional Spanish cooking class, visiting architect Gaudi’s masterpiece- Park Guell, spending a day in a beautiful Mediterranean village, walking to a lookout point where you can see all of Barcelona, eating brunch on the beach, and so much more.
With two weeks left I am trying to make sure I can see as much as I possibly can and spend as much time with the people I have bonded with, before our short time together is up. I even have created a calendar with a to-do list so that I have an organized way to plan out my remaining time in this beautiful city.
Living in a completely different environment and culture has created an opening for reflection and evaluation. I can easily say that this has been one of the most amazing things I have ever been fortunate enough to do, and would advise anyone who can plausibly go abroad to do so. As I’ve said before and will probably say a thousand more times- I am head over heels in love with Barcelona, and am to blessed to be here.
Leading up to my very first European adventure- I am frantically attempting to gather every possible thing I might need or need to know for studying abroad. In a matter of days I will be hopping on a plane to the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona, where the dreary Washington weather will be thousands of miles away and the Mediterranean climate will be patiently waiting. As I will be traveling outside the country alone (another first), a lot of thought has gone into this trip. For ten months I have been pursuing intel on what to pack and with six weeks in Europe and a thousand places I want to go; my idealistic and realistic ideas have to find a common ground.
How to prepare for the unknown- lists. Countless lists comprised of: what to pack, what not to pack, how to minimize, pesky travel rules, and any advice I could find, have been recorded. Seemingly, the more I write down the more things I realize I am forgetting and thus more refining. Essentially lists are key to organization and help me remember items I may need. This brainstorming process gave me a better look at life in Barcelona. From how they dress to the food they eat- researching enlisted some exploration of the foreign culture I am about to enter.
With my departure fast approaching, my Spanish excursion is beginning to feel real. I find myself riddled with excitement, anticipation, and hype. Although one can never be too prepared (i.e my high school Spanish could use some practice) challenges abroad are meant to put students outside their comfort zones, with keeping the prospect of culture shock and the inevitable language barrier in the corner of my brain- I am ready to say “¡Adiós Estados Unidos!”