My name is Yasmin! I’m in Barcelona for the summer. If you’re nervous about studying abroad, don’t worry I was too. I’m approximately five days into my study abroad trip to Barcelona and I’m in love with the city, the food, and the culture. Those study abroad jitters? They’re gone. This first blog entry is for all of you who are debating whether Barcelona is right for you! I hope to share some of my failures/adventures with you and turn them into useful tips.
Study Abroad Trip #1: Buy a Metro Card
When I first arrived to Barcelona I was amazed by the beautiful architecture all around me. Vibrant mosaics, Spanish corridors, and beautiful stone buildings surrounding my every walk. My first day in Barcelona I walked 15 miles with some of my study abroad group in order to familiarize myself with the area around me. The day after that… we realized a metro card would be more useful than walking around. We were given a metro card that would last us the rest of the month for approximately $50, although this might seem pricey, a weekend metro card is $10 so you’re really saving money!
Study Abroad Tip #2: Check out tourist attractions on your first week
I decided to dedicate my first week in Spain towards visiting all of the tourist attractions so I that I could really explore the remainder of the city in an intimate manner. Before I left to Spain, I made a small list of some of the top tourist attractions that I wanted to visit within the first three days!
#1) La Rambla/La Boqueria
#2) Park Güell
#3) Sagrada Familia
My apartment is a couple of blocks away from La Rambla, one of the busiest streets in Barcelona. La Rambla is home to a block of restaurants, stores, but mostly importantly – La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a huge market filled with fresh fruits, juices, ice cream, and empanadas for DAYS. The spinach and cheese empanadas are must and my biggest recommendation! The ice cream there is also so much better than anything I’ve ever had in the states.
The next place I explored was Park Güell. Park Güell was designed by a famous Spanish architect named Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí’s work is what arguably makes Barcelona so famous. He created organic architecture, a binary between unique buildings and nature, the rest is history. Park Güell is beautiful, there are no other words to describe it. The gardens that surround you remind you just how intertwined Spain is with nature.
When you reach the top of the park, you have a beautiful panoramic of the city. You can sit down on the mosaic benches and breathe in the fresh Spanish air. Despite the fact that Park Güell is a tourist attraction, the park allowed me to get away from the buzz of the city, and for a moment, I was lost in nature.
The next landmark I hit up was Sagrada Familia, also designed by Gaudí himself. La Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church. They’re still not finished building it, but just looking at the church takes you back in time. I recommend going when its sunny because the stained glass glows in an ethereal manner when the sun is shining upon it.
Study Abroad Trip #3: Immerse yourself in your study abroad course
My study abroad course is called engineering global health. We examine global health disparities and try to come up with innovative solutions for them. Although school might seem like it interrupts a trip abroad, it actually enhances it. When I come out of my classroom I’m able to see the disparities we discussed and feel empowered to developing new solutions for them. For example, we examined water purifying systems and collected sea water from the beach next to our university to test out just how useful these systems were. I’ve never experienced a class that was tangible, and I look forward to going to class everyday! A huge plus is that my university is right next to the ocean so we eat our lunch on the beach everyday.
Ocean side lunches, fresh markets, and beautiful architecture: that sums up my week. Stay tuned for my new entry next week! Adios!