Well, Barcelona, it has been real. The best experience of my life, but also the worst, simply because nothing will ever compare.
First of all, EVERYONE SHOULD DO THIS PROGRAM. It was the most perfect program in every way. We had all the nice amenities that programs had- walking tours, a cooking class, and FC Barce game, a welcome lunch and farewell dinner, a history class, an emersion Catalan language class, 20 metro tickets, etc. I had a guaranteed internship- all I had to do was submit my resume and a statement about what I wanted. Not only did I get another internship to add to my resume, but I got credit for it, and actually really enjoyed my work. I only took two classes, which means not much homework, or time in the classroom.
Also, everyone should come to Barcelona, Spain. It has everything that a person could want – the beach, the mountains, a great party scene, social and nice people, famous cultural sites, many English speakers, a great transportation system, and a beautiful city. Spain is also gorgeous, and there are many great towns to visit. I have learned and grown so much from coming here.
If anyone is reading this who is going to study abroad in Barcelona, I have 10 quick pointers.
1) The metro is your best friend. Learn how to use it. Buy the T-Jove, unlimited pass. Its 105 euros, but gives you 90 days of unlimited TMB metro and bus use, which you will definitely use.
2) Do not take pickpocketing lightly. Most all of my friends got pickpocketed while here. You can avoid this by always holding onto your stuff, never putting any phone or wallet in a shallow pocket (but more of a purse with a zipper and a clasp both). Don’t bring your wallet and iPhone to the clubs in a purse. Most all of my friends were pickpocketed at a club because it is really easy to be distracted. I always wore tall boots to the club, and put my phone, wallet, and keys in there.
3) Don’t bring more than one suitcase. I lived out of a suitcase and carryon bag for four months, and saved time packing, space in my small room, and money checking a bag. Spain isn’t a third world country- you can easily buy everything you need there. Don’t bring unnecessary hair products, high heels/ uncomfortable shoes, or something that will blow out the outlets here.
4) Don’t travel every single weekend. You’re living in Barcelona, and it’s a fantastic city, so you should stay there and get to know it really well. Plus, the parties in Barcelona are better than anywhere else.
5) However, do travel. I got the opportunity to go to Portugal, France, Andorra, Sweden, and Ibiza. Many of my friends travelled to a lot of other popular destinations such as Amsterdam, Rome, and Paris. It is cheap, comparatively, and a time to play tourist in many different beautiful cities.
6) Don’t be that annoying American who only speaks English to people and remains closed minded about other cultures. It is great to try and speak the language, and become more accepting of other people and their ways of life.
7) Café con leche and crossaint all day, every day. You will be very happy to get used to it.
8) Ask locals about where they like to go. The local places are much more charming than the touristy ones. They also may know when places like museums are free.
9) Don’t forget to stay on your budget. It is easy to spend a lot of money, but remember: the 10-15 euro drink at the club is definitely not worth it.
10) Make the most of your trip. Hang out with everyone, meet people from other countries, eat the good food, drink Sangria, and go out every weekend until 5 or 6 am. You won’t regret the money you spend abroad, and you will regret staying home more often than going out.
Barcelona is the best city in the world. Apply to this program, and I guarantee you will have an amazing four months partying the nights away and taking in the culture, while also adding tangible experience to your resume.
Thanks for following along, y’all. It sure was the experience of a lifetime. <3