Somehow, it’s already the middle of March, which to me is absolutely insane. Time’s been truly flying at the speed of light, which I already thought was happening to me in Wisconsin. I’ve also been busy as ever, with traveling the last few weekends, having my family here for a week (which was awesome) and also having midterms in all my classes recently. Luckily, things slowed down a little as I stayed in Barcelona this weekend for my best friends to visit. It was nice to be a tour guide and be able to show them around this city (BUT it was not nice having my phone stolen while doing so).
In terms of traveling, I’ve been lucky enough to see some amazing places! So far, I’ve been to Geneva, Amsterdam, Palma De Mallorca, London., Prague, Brussels and Brugge. Each one of these trips has opened my eyes to how much I would potentially want to live in Europe one day, at least for a year or two. I also have a newfound appreciation for how different things are around Europe, from the way of life and styles of living, to the level of prioritizing living over working, and also how much easier/cheaper it is to travel around this continent compared to America. I am definitely going to miss living here, as now I’ve already been thinking four and a half months is really no time at all to get the full European experience, but I’m definitely trying to make the most of it all and take in every minute I can.
In terms of making the most of my time, there are a couple things about my program I wish I could change, and feel like I should share for anyone considering it in the future. Although I am lucky to have awesome professors, I definitely feel like I am in class a lot of the time instead of seeing Barcelona. The classes here were made longer this year (I’ve heard), and are now an hour and thirty-five minutes each. Additionally, the program makes you take a minimum of fifteen credits, which for their course offerings means five courses total to meet this. These classes can be at all times of the day, from 8:30 in the morning lasting until 7:20 at night. You are also required by the program to take a Spanish class, which is four-days a week yet follows the same attendance policy as other courses that are two days a week, which I feel is not as fair sometimes. The program scheduling definitely gets to be exhausting and feels like a lot of work. I know abroad isn’t a vacation and should still be challenging, but me and a lot of my peers have felt like we’ve had too much work on top of our long-lasting classes that really restricts us from seeing Barcelona during the day. Also, I’m really starting to miss some of the freedom Wisconsin gives us. Even though I know this program is liable for a lot of American students, it just feels like a high school sometimes, which I am not used to. It’s nice at least all of my classes are transferring over for credit at Wisconsin, I just wish they were a little less work for the three credits I’m receiving for each of them.
Other than some things I wish I could change about my program specifically, studying abroad has truly been amazing. It’s really interesting to see how unique people’s experiences are from each other depending on where they’re studying too, and even comparing experiences in the same cities depending on programs, housing situation and other factors. In terms of Barcelona, this truly is an awesome city with a ton of rich culture, great food and a beautiful scenic atmosphere. I get so excited having visitors here to show them around ‘my new city’ and share all the cool places I’ve seen and explored. This city is so much more than just the typical touristy sites and is actually huge. Living here for four and a half months still doesn’t seem like enough time to get a good feel of every neighborhood and spot in Barcelona, but I’ll definitely come back someday to continue exploring. For now, as the weather continue to heat up and it feels more and more like summer already, I’m dedicated to continuing exploring Barcelona as well as the other cities I’m planning on visiting!