“You’re no longer tourists, you’re students,” the ISA staff tell the group of anxious students upon arrival to our first ISA meeting. Something about having to pull out a giant map every time you take any form of transportation, attempt to explain to friends in your program where you think you live in relation to them, or before you step outside of your place without the slightest idea of where you’re going, tells me otherwise. BUT, it’s true. At least it will be…
From the very moment I stepped off the plane at Barcelona International Airport, I felt this surreal feeling of coming home. A home I’ve never been to, but a home nonetheless. And for the next three and a half months, this new home of mine will be a place of adventure. A place of laughter and challenges. Of love and excitement. New friends and memories to last a lifetime.
Of course, the list doesn’t come close to stopping there, but, hey, I’m just getting started.
Today marks my ninth day in beautiful Barcelona, a spectacular home away from home in which I’m constantly reminded of the quote above. A quote that manifests itself in the beautiful Gothic architecture, the crowded coast of the Mediterranean, and the sea of friendly and diverse faces I pass every single day. And through it all, it has dawned on me… I’ve officially begun my time as a student abroad – a student of Barcelona. And as a student of Barcelona, I’ve begun to pick up on a thing or two. A thing or two every student of Barcelona should know (if they don’t know already).
You Know You’re in Barcelona When…
- In lieu of Starbucks, there’s a tapas bar on every street corner.
- Exploring the Gothic Quarter and Gaudi’s most famous architecture is just down the block from your apartment.
- Your mom stalks your Facebook and comments on every photo.
- You’re constantly devising plausible scenarios in your head as to how you’re going to defend yourself against a pickpocketer.
- You go out every Thursday night through Sunday… And Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. And still manage to get yourself to class the next day.
- You walk 10 times as much as the amount of fresh bread and jamón serrano consumed in a day’s span. (And that’s a whole lot of bread and ham…)
- Your only “homework” consists of fill-in-the-blank Spanish exercises that takes all of 30 seconds.
- Ordering Cava, the Spanish version of champagne, is cheaper than ordering bottled water.
- You’ve never taken the metro on your own, and within a week you’re a public transportation pro.
- Every time you go out, you’re convinced you’re fluent in Spanish. (Even though you’re not…)
Above all, you know you’re in Barcelona when… you have to remind yourself every few hours that this is, in fact, real life; and that going back to reality is going to be a near-impossible feat. When you’re constantly surrounded by new adventures and thrills and excitement, and that every experience from here on out will be unforgettable stories you’ll tell for years to come. Ultimately, you know you’re in Barcelona when you fall more and more in love every single day. With the amazing friendships, the delicious food, and the everlasting memories – all in this new and outstanding place you call, “home.”