I have to say, day 1 was just about every emotion I could imagine. I was excited, scared, lonely, thankful, and tired. I arrived in Barcelona at around 8:00am in the morning about 4 days before the start of school at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. I was able to overcome jet lag pretty fast since I stayed up (with the exception of about a 45-minute nap) the whole day with it being 7 hours ahead. That was very exhausting but worth it.

Now, I am on my third day of school and it has been a blast. To be completely open, I have had feelings of loneliness but I try to remind myself how awesome this experience is and the 6 months will be over before I know it. Through a group called ESN, I have been able to make friends from many different countries even just 6-7 days in, and hope to travel and explore with them over the next few months.

My initial impression of Barcelona was really just shock. It’s the first time that I have been outside of the United States and there are a lot of ordinary and everyday things that are different here in Barcelona and probably in Europe in general. The first challenge and shock was navigating the subway metro system with all of my luggage. I think the challenge and experience was unforgettable for me and will serve me well as I continue to use the metro, but I might recommend to anyone coming to Barcelona to hire a driver to take you where you need to go from the airport. Luckily, I had no rush to be anywhere and I had all day to do it so getting off at the wrong stop and getting on the wrong subway just helped me learn the hard way. Learning the hard way is fairly common these days I would say. But I’m beginning to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations which is great!

I hope to continue to be put in situations that allow me to think critically and practice patience. I hope to continue to meet friends from all over the world. I hope to continue to learn the Spanish language much better. I hope to continue to broaden and deepen my perspective of everything. And I hope to do all of this so that I can share this experience and help others. This 6-month exchange is much bigger than me and what I get out of it. It’s about what I get to share years and even decades down the road that will benefit many. Just grateful to God for this opportunity.