Angela Schuster is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Angela is currently studying abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.
This first week in Barcelona has been such a whirlwind experience! I never knew that I could fall in love with a city so quickly. After 2 flights and a total of 18 hours travel time I made from Arizona to Barcelona last Sunday and all I can think about is that I’m already dreading going back home in July. After a few mishaps, including getting lost multiple times and showing up to the wrong meeting spot for orientation, I think I’m finally getting a hang of the city and an idea of where everything is. Really, the way I learned so quickly was just by wandering and getting lost. As long as you know where you live you can wander wherever and ask for directions as needed.
My first week here went by very quickly. Hopefully time will slow down so that I can enjoy the city for as long as possible! My first week was pretty jam packed and included the beginning of classes, a tour of La Sagrada Familia, going to Montjuïc, visiting Parc Güell, an excursion to Sitges and a tour of Cordoníu Cava Vineyard. I’ve also learned a few important things since I’ve been here: keep your bag in front of you when in the touristy areas, don’t set things down, drink a lot of water, and one of the most important things I learned was to use clothespins when hanging your items out on the line. You think that would be common sense, but my roommate and I didn’t figure that out until we noticed that one of our towels was sitting in the top of a tree next door.
All I can say is that I’m so lucky to be here. Everyday I learn something new, improve my Spanish and take in new sights. Who would’ve thought that I would walk past Casa Battló and La Casa Milaá (La Perdrera) everyday on my way to classes? The eating and sleeping schedules are still taking some time getting used to, but I have to say that there is nowhere that I would rather spend my summer than in Barcelona. Some advice I would like to give is that you should honestly try to speak as much of the native language as possible. Sometimes I mess up and they’ll chuckle at me, but everyone appreciates that I’m trying and they always teach me how to say what I want to say properly. Also, eat. Eat a lot. Eat the local food. Order a huge portion of paella, stop and get xiurro everyday when you pass the stand on your way to school and stop in little cafés and restaurants and order a bocadillo for lunch. You really can’t go wrong with anything you get here!
Great post that captures the spirit of Barcelona pretty well. It brought me back in time to my semester abroad there in the Fall of 2007 and reminded me of the very first thing that I learned there “no pasa nada”- a phrase that oozes with acceptance, comfort and permission to mess up until you get it right. Four months in Barcelona flew by way too fast, but friendships that were made there are proving to last a lifetime. Enjoy every minute of this experience as there is no other like it. Adeu! :)