“Today is the first day of the rest of your life” is one of my favorite quotes. It’s so inspirational, and it’s a constant reminder that things can always be better tomorrow, as every day is a chance for a new beginning.
Well, my friends, today was most definitely the first day of the rest of my life. I don’t think I will ever be the same person after today, and for that I hope I will always be thankful. Today, I set foot on European soil for the first time. Today, I got to cross a huge “to-do” item off of my bucket list, and I already love Barcelona, Spain.
Known as “La Ciudad Abierta”, Barcelona welcomed me, along with other study abroad students, with arms wide open. It felt like I was coming home after a long trip and I hadn’t even set foot on the continent, let alone urbanized Spain.
Exploring Barcelona during Orientation
There’s something about traveling that’s so thrilling to me. Maybe it’s the sense of adventure and newness, or the rush of adrenaline when I find a cool little area of the city to roam around and gawk at buildings’ gorgeous designs – and even sometimes the graffiti art that adorns their outer structures; whatever it is, I’m addicted to that feeling, and Barcelona gives me my fix every time I walk out my front door. I love how there’s old and ancient mixed with modern and sleek architecture, including the Palau Reial de Pedralbes pictured here, where the Royal Family stays when visiting Barcelona. Everyone is always together, socializing, eating, going outdoors, and not ever on their phone, I love that. I wish the US was more like this. Who knows? Maybe it will be one day.
So far, along with other students, I have had the opportunity to tour the University at which our classes will take place – La Universidad de Barcelona. With two campuses, one downtown and one uptown, the university has over 90,000 students enrolled and offers a wide variety of classes and activities that students can choose from to further enhance their experience at UB. 64% of classes are taught in Spanish, while the rest are taught in Catalan – a native dialect popular in the Spanish providence of Catalunya. It’s such a beautiful, interesting place, and I can’t wait to see what this new world will bring my way.
Day 3 – Meeting my Host Family
Today is day 3 of what I like to call “Becca’s Great European Adventure,” and I think it will prove to be one of the more stressful days. It is currently 10:30, and my host family is coming to the hotel (a great location, a clean suite, and super friendly staff) to pick me up in about 45 minutes. I only learned about them 13 hours ago*. They’re an elderly couple with two grown sons located about a 30 minute walk from UB’s main campus in downtown and only a few blocks from Casa Batlló (one of my favorite works by Gaudi). I am both nervous and excited – nervous to go off on my own, excited to live like the locals. It will be an interesting adventure, I’m sure, and my family seems like a very good fit for me.
*BCA does not announce Barcelona host family arrangements prior to departure, so the Resident Director can meet students first and then rearrange host family assignments as necessary, so students have the best match possible!
My Spain Study Abroad Experience
Today is the first day of the rest of my life, and it’ll most definitely be one of the more important days as well. Here’s to my next adventure, filled with more beautiful sunrises and gorgeous views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. As the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun!” Until next time. – B
About the Author – Rebecca Kaplan, Spring 2017 BCA Barcelona, Spain Student
Becca Kaplan ’19, is a Spanish Secondary Education major with minors in TESOL and Business. As a commuter student at Manchester University, she spends most of her time on campus either studying, watching Netflix, or writing her next blog post. When classes are not in session, Becca usually travels, either visiting her parents in Florida, or her extended family in St. Louis.