Justine Crowley, a Minor in Latin American & Iberian Studies shares her experience in the Study Abroad program in Barcelona.
“It has only just marked a month here in my stay in Barcelona and it truly is amazing how much I can already look back on. I had previously cautioned myself that it was a whole different world over here, above all else, an entirely new culture. Immersing myself in something new feels so liberating and refreshing. I made a goal to learn as much of the Spanish language and culture as possible during my very short stay here. Barcelona is such an antique beautiful city with so much to offer to everyone, I’m very happy with my choice of stay. Speaking of stay, I live with a wonderful Spanish woman, Antonia, and she is a true mother at heart. She is such a sweet addition to my life here in Spain; let alone the magnificent cooking, and the bonus of actually having someone do your laundry (Whoa!) she is awesome to talk to. She only speaks spanish, as well as understands Catalan, so English isn’t an option which is in my favor. Expressing yourself is something I somewhat took for granted, which is weird to say since at times it’s actually quite difficult to express yourself even in your native tongue… But having to express your needs, wants, wishes, opinions, etc in a whole different language truly is a life changer all in itself. I realized how crucial language is for everything from relationships, to directions, to clarifying that you would like to know if the “Chocolate Caliente” you are about to buy is the THICK kind –Not the watery kind.. That sure has been a struggle, haha.
It seemed as though the first month was mainly for adaptation; I got lost all the time, got exhausted from speaking Spanish, and was still working on the time change.. It was a little overwhelming, but what made it easier was that I was constantly being swept off my feet by all of the majestic masterpieces that stood before my eyes; for me to see, feel, and smell. All much better than photographs.
Studying abroad in general is by far the best decision I ever made, every day I am thankful of this opportunity to work towards my progression as a student, as well as my own personal growth. To be able to navigate through a new city where my first language isn’t prominent is so wonderful, because it is beyond “new” and “different” to me. There’s just no comparison, and I hope that every one who wants to experience a new country does so, because it’s something I am so happy that I am fortunate enough to make a part of my life. Here go the next two months, I hope time slows down!”