After a week of traveling all around Europe, we had our last trip as a study abroad group to Costa Brava. On the way to Costa Brava, we stopped at a town to see the Salvador Dali museum. Dali is an artist with a distinct mustache and is best known for his surrealist style, and he actually designed every corner of his museum. My favorite part about the museum was that you could see something different every time you looked at the artwork. After the museum we took our bus to Costa Brava, checked into the hotel, and went to the beach. The beach was just what I needed after a week of traveling to three different countries, and Costa Brava was the perfect place to go. The part of town that we stayed was a beach resort, and everyone I met was friendly. The next morning, our study abroad group had an excursion to the rice farm. We were given a tour of the farm and shown how rice is produced. After the rice farm, we had a 3.5-hour lunch with tons of tapas, a main course, dessert and coffee. The food was absolutely delicious, but about an hour in, I was already full! Once lunch was done, we headed back to Costa Brava and spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach. One of the reasons I enjoyed Costa Brava so much was because the whole group was together because we have become really close to each other.

Moving on from Costa Brava, today, I was given a survey to fill out about the study abroad. One of the blanks asked for a testimonial so here it is: I now understand why everyone says studying abroad is a must. I have gained a new sense of independence, become immersed in a new culture, and created strong friendships. My best piece of advice would be to take siestas along the way!

 

Categories: 2018 Trip, Uncategorized

I’ve probably said this in all of my blogs, but this week has gone by so fast! I finished my last final today meaning that I have officially completed the school part of the study abroad. Both of the classes were interesting- one of them was taught by a Spanish professor. This class focused on the history and economics of the EU integration, and the other class was an international business management course. I think it was neat having the opportunity to learn from a non-American professor because I was able to experience cultural differences regarding education. I learned that tests and grades are not as important to Spanish students as they are to American students and that classes are reading intensive. I think I’ll actually miss going to class in Spain. I enjoyed the routine of taking the metro, grabbing a coffee and staying in the same class for a few hours.

Moving on from school, last weekend a few friends from the study abroad and I took a trip to Amsterdam. This city is incredible, and I was able to experience a lot of firsts one of the included staying in a hostel. The hostel was not as bad as I anticipated, and it was fun getting to meet other people our age also traveling. After checking into the hostel, we went on a walking tour of the city. Some notable sights included hidden churches, the red light district and the canal. After the tour, we went to the Van Gogh museum, grabbed dinner and called it night shortly after. The next day and a half was packed but some notable experiences were going on a boat canal tour ride, touring the Heiniken brewery, and walking around Vondell Park.Tomorrow, pretty much everyone from the Amsterdam group is heading to Zurich, then Prague and finally Rome. I am so excited to see what adventures are in store and will update this blog when I get back!

Categories: 2018 Trip, Uncategorized

Week two of this study abroad has been nothing short of incredible, and I am extremely excited for this weekend. Tomorrow morning at seven, a group of us will be taking a flight to Amsterdam! We’ll kick off our visit by going on a walking tour of the city and then visiting the Van Gogh museum. The next day we plan on seeing the Anne Frank museum, visiting the floating flowers market, and going on a canal boat ride.

But back to Barcelona, I really believe that I am adjusting to the city and the culture. When we first arrived and got on a metro, I did not think I was going to be able to use it by myself because it was unfamiliar. A few days ago, however, I rode the metro back from the beach to my apartment by myself, and I am getting more comfortable with it. Something else I’ve noticed that I’ve adapted to tis he eating habits of the locals. Spaniards typically eat a light breakfast, heavy lunch, and a very late dinner, somewhere between 8 and 11. At first, I was not keen on waiting so late to eat, but I really don’t mind.  My favorite part about the meals is that that people are not in a rush to finish, and they really take time to socialize and be present. I think Americans should adopt some of these eating habits.

Besides the cultural habits that I’ve picked up on, one of my favorite parts about this week was an excursion my class took to a winery. The winery is called Frexinet, which is a popular brand most known for their sparkling wine or white cava. I got to learn more about the wine making process and learned about some of the differences in wine. And of course, we ended the tour with a wine tasting!

Categories: 2018 Trip, Uncategorized

Week two of this study abroad has been nothing short of incredible, and I am extremely excited for this weekend. Tomorrow morning at seven, a group of us will be taking a flight to Amsterdam! We’ll kick off our visit by going on a walking tour of the city and then visiting the Van Gogh museum. The next day we plan on seeing the Anne Frank museum, visiting the floating flowers market, and going on a canal boat ride.
But back to Barcelona, I really believe that I am adjusting to the city and the culture. When we first arrived and got on a metro, I did not think I was going to be able to use it by myself because it was unfamiliar. A few days ago, however, I rode the metro back from the beach to my apartment by myself, and I am getting more comfortable with it. Something else I’ve noticed that I’ve adapted to tis he eating habits of the locals. Spaniards typically eat a light breakfast, heavy lunch, and a very late dinner, somewhere between 8 and 11. At first, I was not keen on waiting so late to eat, but I really don’t mind. My favorite part about the meals is that that people are not in a rush to finish, and they really take time to socialize and be present. I think Americans should adopt some of these eating habits.
Besides the cultural habits that I’ve picked up on, one of my favorite parts about this week was an excursion my class took to a winery. The winery is called Frexinet, which is a popular brand most known for their sparkling wine or white cava. I got to learn more about the wine making process and learned about some of the differences in wine. And of course, we ended the tour with a wine tasting!

Categories: 2018 Trip, Uncategorized

The past 24 hours have been an adventure of a lifetime for me. I crossed something off my bucket list that I didn’t know was on it! After classes on Thursday, a group of classmates and I took a four hour train ride from Barcelona to Pamplona to celebrate Running of the Bulls. As our train got closer to Pamplona, I noticed more and more people getting on the train who were wearing white pants, white t-shirts and a red bandana, which is the typical attire for Running of the Bulls. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the sound of fireworks and followed the sound to the city center.  At the city center, my senses were overloaded with music, occasional fireworks, and excitement. The coolest aspect in my opinion was that almost all of the residents of Pamplona participated including older people. I really cannot think of an event in the US that brings everyone in a city together…

While most were still celebrating by the time 4am rolled around, my group was tired and decided we needed to sleep. We found a park with some benches and took a nap until 6am. At 6, the guys split off from the girls to line up to actually run with the bulls. The girls decided that we would rather watch than participate! We bought tickets for entry into the stadium where people running with the bulls would be shown. My heart was pounding watching people running, and I was worried that our guys were going to come back injured, but luckily, that did not happen. After the running finished, we grabbed lunch and took a train back to Barcelona. This weekend, I gained new friends, a cultural experience and a story to share for the rest of my life.

 

Categories: 2018 Trip, Uncategorized

After a week of traveling all around Europe, we had our last trip as a study abroad group to Costa Brava. On the way to Costa Brava, we stopped at a town to see the Salvador Dali museum. Dali is an artist with a distinct mustache and is best known for his surrealist style, and he actually designed every corner of his museum. My favorite part about the museum was that you could see something different every time you looked at the artwork. After the museum we took our bus to Costa Brava, checked into the hotel, and went to the beach. The beach was just what I needed after a week of traveling to three different countries, and Costa Brava was the perfect place to go. The part of town that we stayed was a beach resort, and everyone I met was friendly. The next morning, our study abroad group had an excursion to the rice farm. We were given a tour of the farm and shown how rice is produced. After the rice farm, we had a 3.5-hour lunch with tons of tapas, a main course, dessert and coffee. The food was absolutely delicious, but about an hour in, I was already full! Once lunch was done, we headed back to Costa Brava and spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach. One of the reasons I enjoyed Costa Brava so much was because the whole group was together because we have become really close to each other.
Moving on from Costa Brava, today, I was given a survey to fill out about the study abroad. One of the blanks asked for a testimonial so here it is: I now understand why everyone says studying abroad is a must. I have gained a new sense of independence, become immersed in a new culture, and created strong friendships. My best piece of advice would be to take siestas along the way!

Categories: 2018 Trip

I’ve probably said this in all of my blogs, but this week has gone by so fast! I finished my last final today meaning that I have officially completed the school part of the study abroad. Both of the classes were interesting- one of them was taught by a Spanish professor. This class focused on the history and economics of the EU integration, and the other class was an international business management course. I think it was neat having the opportunity to learn from a non-American professor because I was able to experience cultural differences regarding education. I learned that tests and grades are not as important to Spanish students as they are to American students and that classes are reading intensive. I think I’ll actually miss going to class in Spain. I enjoyed the routine of taking the metro, grabbing a coffee and staying in the same class for a few hours.
Moving on from school, last weekend a few friends from the study abroad and I took a trip to Amsterdam. This city is incredible, and I was able to experience a lot of firsts one of the included staying in a hostel. The hostel was not as bad as I anticipated, and it was fun getting to meet other people our age also traveling. After checking into the hostel, we went on a walking tour of the city. Some notable sights included hidden churches, the red light district and the canal. After the tour, we went to the Van Gogh museum, grabbed dinner and called it night shortly after. The next day and a half was packed but some notable experiences were going on a boat canal tour ride, touring the Heiniken brewery, and walking around Vondell Park.
Tomorrow, pretty much everyone from the Amsterdam group is heading to Zurich, then Prague and finally Rome. I am so excited to see what adventures are in store and will update this blog when I get back!

Categories: 2018 Trip

Week two of this study abroad has been nothing short of incredible, and I am extremely excited for this weekend. Tomorrow morning at seven, a group of us will be taking a flight to Amsterdam! We’ll kick off our visit by going on a walking tour of the city and then visiting the Van Gogh museum. The next day we plan on seeing the Anne Frank museum, visiting the floating flowers market, and going on a canal boat ride.
But back to Barcelona, I really believe that I am adjusting to the city and the culture. When we first arrived and got on a metro, I did not think I was going to be able to use it by myself because it was unfamiliar. A few days ago, however, I rode the metro back from the beach to my apartment by myself, and I am getting more comfortable with it. Something else I’ve noticed that I’ve adapted to tis he eating habits of the locals. Spaniards typically eat a light breakfast, heavy lunch, and a very late dinner, somewhere between 8 and 11. At first, I was not keen on waiting so late to eat, but I really don’t mind. My favorite part about the meals is that that people are not in a rush to finish, and they really take time to socialize and be present. I think Americans should adopt some of these eating habits.
Besides the cultural habits that I’ve picked up on, one of my favorite parts about this week was an excursion my class took to a winery. The winery is called Frexinet, which is a popular brand most known for their sparkling wine or white cava. I got to learn more about the wine making process and learned about some of the differences in wine. And of course, we ended the tour with a wine tasting!

Categories: 2018 Trip

The past 24 hours have been an adventure of a lifetime for me. I crossed something off my bucket list that I didn’t know was on it! After classes on Thursday, a group of classmates and I took a four hour train ride from Barcelona to Pamplona to celebrate Running of the Bulls. As our train got closer to Pamplona, I noticed more and more people getting on the train who were wearing white pants, white t-shirts and a red bandana, which is the typical attire for Running of the Bulls. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the sound of fireworks and followed the sound to the city center. At the city center, my senses were overloaded with music, occasional fireworks, and excitement. The coolest aspect in my opinion was that almost all of the residents of Pamplona participated including older people. I really cannot think of an event in the US that brings everyone in a city together…
While most were still celebrating by the time 4am rolled around, my group was tired and decided we needed to sleep. We found a park with some benches and took a nap until 6am. At 6, the guys split off from the girls to line up to actually run with the bulls. The girls decided that we would rather watch than participate! We bought tickets for entry into the stadium where people running with the bulls would be shown. My heart was pounding watching people running, and I was worried that our guys were going to come back injured, but luckily, that did not happen. After the running finished, we grabbed lunch and took a train back to Barcelona. This weekend, I gained new friends, a cultural experience and a story to share for the rest of my life.

Categories: 2018 Trip

Last week, I began my week by taking a train from Barcelona to Paris. Although it probably would have been easier to take a flight there, it was well-worth the experience. I loved soaking in the countryside of France. It was six hours of mountains, windmills, waterfronts, gorgeous flowers, and the prettiest towns I have ever seen. It made me wish I lived there.

My friends and I weren’t even five minutes into our trip when we almost got scammed by a woman. We were trying to buy a three-day metro pass when she approached us and asked us if we needed any help. We accepted her help since attempting to read everything in French was an impossible task for us. She then proceeded to buy our tickets herself and allow us through the gate towards the metro. Right when we were about to part ways, she demanded that we give her way more than what we would have originally paid for the tickets had we bought them ourselves. We immediately walked away from her, and our motto of the trip became, “Trust no one.”

Other than that incident, Paris was amazing! We visited the Catacombs, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacred Heart Basilica, Champs-Elysées, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triumph, the Louvre, and took a boat tour around the city, ate incredible food (Parisians definitely know a thing or two about pastries), and got to watch the last day of the Tour de France! I cannot wait to go back there! I wished I had more time to shop there; the clothes are SO cute!

After three days in Paris, we made our way to Rome for about four days. Wow, the food was fantastic! I ate nothing but pasta and gelato everyday I was there, and I have no regrets. Unlike Paris, Rome was incredibly hot, so we had to make sure we were hydrated throughout the day. We began our trip to Rome by taking a short walk to Vatican City, where we saw St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. My friends and I went to the top of the dome of the basilica, and walking up all those steps was definitely a workout (not to mention extremely cramped). It was well-worth it to see the gorgeous views from the top. Afterwards, we went to Castell Sant Angelo, where we saw spectacular views of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The next day, we went to the Colosseum and visited the Spanish steps, which was so surreal. The day after (which was unanimously the favorite day), we went to a cooking class, where we made homemade pastas and a tiramisu. All the dishes were to die for, and I cannot wait to make them for myself when I get home in a couple of days.

After getting back to Barcelona, the entire study abroad group packed up once again to head out for a three-day excursion to Costa Brava, which is a 90 minute drive from Barcelona. We visited the Dali museum (I hate art museums and I loved this one), a rice farm to learn how rice is processed, and took a tour around Girona to see all those famous Game of Thrones sets. We had a lot of time after our visits, so I went to the beach for both the days we were there.

Tomorrow, we have a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Spanish dishes, and as someone who loves cooking, I am so looking forward to it.

I cannot believe I’ve been in Europe for almost 35 days now. It’s something I never thought I would be able to do, and now that I look back on it, coming here was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ve made memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Barcelona has a piece of my heart; it is a place I can now call home, and I will be back someday.

Categories: 2018 Trip