I’ve been here in Barcelona for almost two months and I can confidently say that if I am to live abroad in the future (which I plan to) I will be living in Spain. Specifically Catalunya, which is the northeastern side of Spain that Barcelona is a part of, is breathtakingly beautiful with several types of scenery. It ranges from mountains and hills, to beaches and city life. I continue to wander the city of Barcelona finding new places to shop and eat.
During my time living here I have improved my Spanish and I’m able to have short conversations with some of my neighbors and order meals at restaurants. If you are thinking about studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, or another Spanish-speaking country, I would recommend to start learning Spanish if you don’t know it, either in a class or on an app called Duolingo. Although many people in Barcelona know English, several local residents don’t know much English and would appreciate the effort of someone learning basic Spanish words and phrases to communicate with them.
I’m learning to find a balance between studying, traveling, and relaxing. While classes at Universitat Pompeu Fabra are time consuming with papers, presentations, group projects, and a few midterms, people are willing to help me understand what’s going on if I’m confused or need advice. However, be aware that many people here are definitely procrastinators, so within group projects be mindful that not everyone gets assignments done in advanced. I had a group presentation that was not finished until the day of presenting; thankfully it worked out and was done in time, but it was slightly stressful! Throughout the past two months I have travelled in Spain and also to Amsterdam. I am partly Dutch so getting the chance to see things such as tulips and Deft pottery that I’ve heard about my whole life was truly amazing! Living in Spain provided me that opportunity that I could not be more grateful for! While traveling around is such a great experience, getting to relax and actually feel like I’m at home is important for me too. I’ve now had two weekends where I lounged around my flat, watching Netflix, eating junk food, and taking a breather from being constantly on the go. I did my best to still go find a place to eat or casually walk around Barcelona at night, but it was lovely to simply relax.
Just a few recommendation:
- Be prepared to hang dry your clothes if you are staying in Barcelona or anywhere in Europe. Most places such as flats do not have dryers for clothes, which is actually better for clothing. This is very different from what I’m used to because I can’t wash clothes right before an event since it takes close to 24 hours to fully dry anything.
- Eat as many new things as possible! I tried seafood paella at a bar called Belushi’s, it was something I would not usually order in the States but I’m so glad I ordered it! I also try to eat a new pastry every week. Back home I don’t have access to a variety of freshly baked pastries, whereas here there’s a bakery or cafe on every other street with different goodies to try.
- Get involved. I have been attending International Church of Barcelona (ICB) on Sundays if I’m in town and I go to a community group, which is similar to a Bible study with ICB, every Tuesday. I’m thankful that I have found a consistent group to be with and people who understand what it’s like to be new to the city. Find a weekly group of people to hang out with; it gives you something to do and it’ll grow closer friendships with people you meet.
- Food recommendations:
- Taco Alto, a cute taco shop down the street from my flat with some seriously amazing tacos.
- Alsur Cafe, a decently priced cafe with food that will make your stomach extremely happy.
- All You Eat is Love, a cafe near the university with vegan food and although I’m not vegan their cookies, coffee, and food are amazing!
- Bormuth, a cozy casual bar and grill with great tapas!
- Good Burger, a little taste of America while gone, they have great burgers and even a soda fountain which is rare around here.
- Les dues Sililies, local restaurant with decent sized slices of great pizza costing only 2€ each.
I’ve already found so much in this city and I’m excited for my last month and a half being here to discover more. My parents and sister plan to come to Barcelona in about a week so I’m excited to show them my favorite things so far and be able to experience more with them.