Monday, March 11, 2013

Mariela G. - Barcelona, Spain - Spring 2013

Greetings from Barcelona,
Hola, my name is Mariela, and I chose the program IES Barcelona. I have been here over a month and have about six weeks left. This decision to study abroad was made even before High School. I knew I wanted to study in Europe when I was in College. The opportunity arose and I took it. Boy am I glad I did. There have been ups and downs, the first day was by far the hardest for me, as I didn’t get much sleep on the plane ride, one of my suitcases got lost, and then couldn’t take the taxi from the airport because the taxi drivers decided to go on strike. Once I got to my home stay it was  around 7, five hours after arriving in Barcelona. To my delight the homestay was really close by to IES, 20 minute walk or two metro stops away. Things started to look up, I found out it was only my house “mom” that would be living with my roommate and I. Then I found out  the most amazing thing that there are two rooms and that means I wouldn’t have to share a room with someone. I get along really great with my roommate, but I think it would have been hard to have shared a room, since we are both a very different schedules. The possibility of not having WIFI scared me, but up to this day I haven’t heard of anyone who doesn’t have Wifi. The rest of the week I was getting over jet lag, it took a week before I had a good night’s sleep. There are no cures or shortcuts, one just has to go thru it, and it’s different for everyone. My cultural adjustment isn’t as bad as a lot of others, as I am fluent in Spanish, the Spaniard cultural is similar to Mexico’s, and I am good with maps/directions. I made my way around the city and explored the second week. Barcelona is stunning, and the scenery never gets old. I think returning back to the suburbs will be the hardest thing, since I love modernism architecture. After I got done with all the tourist places, I made it my mission to “live as the locals live” and have met some Catalans.
I should also say, Barcelona could be on a whole different continent when compared to Madrid. Catalans are bilingual, but many speak Catalan including to me until they find out I don’t understand then switch to Spanish, which is called “Castellano”. Classes here are easy, but I think it’s because after Organic Chemistry I am prepared for everything. That said a balance of school life and nightlife is needed, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity but this is not a vacation because your grades will suffer. One thing to note is only three absences are allowed then half a letter grade is dropped on fourth absence.  Another thing is the most of my teachers are great, very funny and helpful. Spanish class is the smallest class, about 9 students which is great to get more help. I am taking all political science class, and my teachers are amazing. They are so politically incorrect but in a funny way. One thing that applies to every class be prepared for a lot of reading, and not the textbook kind, it’s JSTOR readings. The most important thing I can tell you is be careful of your stuff, as some people have gotten their stuff stolen. As try to travel as much as possible. Pay attention in class. Good luck with your process. I am here if you have any specific questions. Adeu.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good that you are adjusting well and have shared all this important information about Spain. The photos are great too

-Nima CPP250

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am going to Barcelona through the IES program too! What are some tips to help me pick out classes?

Ally Nee

12:20 AM  

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