Thursday, March 05, 2015

Marie S - Barcelona, Spain - Spring 2015

Hello CPP 250!
My name is Marie and I have been studying in Barcelona, Spain for a little over a month now through IES. It’s crazy to think that in only 3 short months I will already be leaving this beautiful city to return back to the states, time really flies when you are abroad. Use it wisely! 

Going abroad was the biggest decision I have made in my entire life, but I can honestly say it has been the best one yet. I definitely had some fears going into it because I have absolutely no sense of direction, have never taken public transportation alone, and have never been that long and far away from home. When I very first arrived, I did experience some jet-lag for about 2 weeks getting used to food, keeping myself hydrated, and sleep patterns. I went through culture shock and all I wanted to do was go back to my comfort, my familiarity, so I talked to everyone from home continuously online, but I continued to feel a huge sense of homesickness because everything here was still very new and different (do NOT worry everyone has different experiences).  It is my opinion and after experiencing it, the way to overcome this is to go out and see things like popular attractions or neighborhoods, learn about where you are living (you will find out it isn’t as different as you thought even with a language barrier), and talk to the locals or other people in your program. I found out a lot of people were going through the same exact thing as me!

 Being a whole month in now, I can strongly say I feel intensely more comfortable, understand my “daily routine”, and have an overall sense of what life is like living in Barcelona. I am in a homestay, my two roommates and I live with an older women in an adorable apartment that is just a 15 minute walk from the IES Center. It has been a great accommodation so far and my Spanish language skills are picking up rapidly, even with the Catalán language being present everywhere. Class-wise, there are only two things I am semi-struggling with: the 15 credit minimum (I have 3 classes a day), and that many of the classes here have no homework grades, therefore all of the points rely solely on your participation and exams, just participate and pay attention and you will be fine J IES does a great job with the Spanish-Placement exams because I feel I was placed in the perfect class for my language level. I also thought taking another class in Spanish and taking two of my classes at a local university (UAB) was going to be difficult, but it is certainly manageable! It is so nice that we do not have class on Friday because it has provided my friends and I plenty of opportunity to travel, experience the night life, and site-see! I am enjoying my time here in Barcelona, it is the most beautiful and safe city I have ever been. Please let me know of any questions you may have and good luck on preparing for your time abroad, wherever it may be!


Blogger Lisa Pham said...

Hi Marie,

It was so nice to read about your experience in Barcelona! It seems like you are having a great time and it makes me even more excited for when i go on my trip!


6:30 PM  
Blogger Sara Steinhoff said...

Hi Marie,

I am preparing to study in Italy and I am so excited. Just like you I have never really had an experience like this and don't take public transportation often and am nervous about missing home! It is good to hear that you persevered through that and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures!

Sara S.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marie!

I loved reading about your experience so far in Barcelona, both the ups and the downs! It's nice to know that other people are going through the same things as you while studying abroad and that there is a support system out there. It's also great to hear all the awesome things you are experiencing! I look forward to reading future posts! :)

Kayla S.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there Marie!
I am planning to study abroad to Ireland next semester, it seems like you are having a great time and I am very jealous!What would you say has been your biggest challenge so far?

Tara Mitchell

3:25 PM  
Blogger Karina Ambriz said...

I am glad to hear you are enjoying studying abroad. What are some things you experienced culture shock too?

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marie,
I was wondering if you could give some tips about selecting classes and adjusting to the academic differences between here and abroad.

Tara Mitchell

1:45 PM  
Blogger Marie Sidlowski said...

Thanks for all the feedback!

Tara- I would say my biggest challenge here is accepting the everyday social norms: No wearing sweats, "grabbing a coffee and snack to go" while drinking/eating on the street or in class, and if you are in a homestay, stroll into dinner in a tank and without socks; all can be done but just aren't really accepted in Spain. Very little but easily fixable you will definitely catch on quickly in Ireland, which I have heard is marvelous!

Karina- Some of which I listed above in my comment to Tara, but also things as simple as constantly hearing the language on the streets and trying to figure out how their traffic patterns work. No taxes in Spain, that was a nice shock! People also walk very slowly and don't necessarily ever "rush" so that was different as well. The food was an adjustment too, but definitely in a good way :)

Thanks again! Marie

1:47 PM  
Blogger Brittany Negron said...

Hey Marie! Thank you for sharing. I bet Barcelona is a beautiful city and I commend you for diving yourself into the culture by exploring to help with the culture shock. It can be rough and I am kind of nervous about the transporation aspect yada yada (im awful with directions) but this blog made me realize there's hope! haha thanks again

4:55 PM  

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