How Barcelona Taught Me to Appreciate the Beauty Around Me

Kimberly Perez-Lucero is a student at the Ramapo College of New Jersey and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.

In many ways, Barcelona reminded me of New York. Being from the East Coast, going to New York is a trip that you plan if you want to see or experience something new. Whether it’s a concert or a museum, the Big Apple is a major destination for anyone. Especially if you’re a Jersey native seeking some fun like me. Being in Barcelona felt very new at first, but then I felt comfort in finding that it was not as unfamiliar as I thought it was. The metro station was like the subway, the busy streets, the never-ending masses of people, and the endless possibilities of exploring were things I was exposed to already. But I had never been to a metropolitan Mediterranean city like this one before. Unlike many cities, Barcelona is fortunate enough to have the sea and the mountains on its opposite ends.

You could be a metro ride away from being at the beach or a bus ride away from visiting the mountains of Montserrat. And that was something incredible to me. I happen to be close to a mountain back home, but the nearest beach was about two to three hours away. And for the other people living in Colorado or Ohio, that distance was even bigger. Not only was nature’s beauty within minutes, but it was everywhere. All of the buildings had terraces in almost every window. There was always seating outside for restaurants, even McDonalds! The streets were always clean even with all the clusters of people. On sunny days, the sun made sure to beam.

A majestic rainbow after a light rain shower in the neighborhood of Gràcia. Barcelona, Spain.

I did more walking than the usual trips to and from my car. It really made the difference in getting to know the city better. You notice many natives are either dog, bike, scooter, motorcycle, or skateboard owners. Pedestrians actually abide by crosswalks. Everyone drives really fast. Many people smoke cigarettes. Sometimes, you can see live shows from street performers. One of my favorite places was the walkway from the Arc de Triomphe to the Parc de la Ciutadella. I loved it because the passageway was always filled with people blowing giant bubbles, people dancing, talking, or skating.

If you’re ever abroad or in a new environment, try to completely enjoy it in every way you can. Make sure all your senses are reached, because there is beauty everywhere.


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