Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia is rich in its history, architecture, cuisine, and lively atmosphere. It is a truly unique and captivating destination that provides a sense of gratitude for the countless memorable experiences I have had so far. Furthermore, as a first-time traveler to Europe, multiple problems have arisen throughout my stay, but I somehow always find everything to work out in the end.
My initial weeks in Barcelona have been a rollercoaster ride full of experiences. I’ve had multiple challenges with transportation, communication, and many more. Though transportation in Barcelona is generally more efficient and cleaner than in the U.S., I constantly find myself getting lost and confused. Navigating the transportation system has been a humbling experience, and I’m eagerly looking forward to driving a car again once I return to the States. The bus is more convenient than the metro, but it’s worth noting that the bus is slower, whereas the metro provides a faster mode of transport. Using the metro alone in the first few days was a struggle as I couldn’t locate the stations, and wasted an hour in confusion. I remember asking at least five individuals for directions and one even gave me information about the wrong tram, going in the opposite direction. As I spend my time in Barcelona, I continue to adapt to the transportation system. I now know to walk to the Les Cortes station and take line 3 with Trinitat Nova and go all the way to Catalunya to get off and arrive at the location of my internship. I remember being on the verge of tears when I got lost but looking back, I learned from my mistakes and have been improving every day. That was probably the last time I was unable to find line 3 thinking it was a bus when it was the metro.
The languages spoken here are mainly Catalan and Spanish. Though most of the people I’ve encountered have spoken English, the smaller areas of Barcelona only seem to know Catalan and Spanish. I took three years of Spanish in high school and learned most of the basics. Although I mainly forgot everything, I still remember certain rules like the multiple tenses and introducing myself. Speaking Spanish in a very practical setting seem much different than what I expected, and I feel frustrated during times when I cannot communicate with others. I have picked up some phrases that have been helpful during my time here and if anything I can always use google translate. Furthermore, it annoys me when I’m practicing my Spanish and the employees start talking in English, I assume it’s because I take my time answering and I don’t look like a local. However, I’m often glad that most of the people here speak English as my Spanish is not up to par. I feel proud of myself when I can understand certain phrases and I feel as though I’m picking it up little by little.
I eagerly anticipate the personal growth and valuable insights I will gain from this experience. Especially when I already feel that I have gained a great deal. I’m confident that when I return home, I will have transformed into a different person with an enhanced perspective on life and other aspects of life. Including cultural differences and forms of communication.