When I thought about studying abroad this past summer, there were many comments that were mentioned telling me that this was a bad summer to go, and it would not be as fun because of Covid. They were wrong. I had the best time of my entire life while I was in Barcelona for 45 days over the summer. Covid-19 has really put a damper on many people’s summer plans in the last year, but I was not letting it stop me from experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity exploring Spain’s crazy landscapes, cathedrals, and culture.
I was mainly staying in Barcelona, Spain throughout my time studying abroad. My apartment was in the heart of downtown Barcelona. I could not have asked for a better location to be in. It was a 5-minute walk to the metro, which is the main way of transportation for middle class citizens of Barcelona. Monday through Thursday we would stay in Barcelona, and we would have a friend group meeting every Monday morning to talk about where we were going to go the next weekend. We took planes, trains, and even a boat to wherever we were heading away from Barcelona for the weekend. During my time in Barcelona, I was able to travel to Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Sitges, Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo, Ibiza, and Costa Brava. Traveling the world with your best friends is something special.
We got in a little pattern with our schedules as we adjusted to the Spanish culture and found the best spots to eat and enjoy a cerveza. We had class Monday through Thursday 9am to 11am, so having enough free time was never a problem. A day in the life of my time in Spain would consist of waking up at 8:30 Am walking to the metro to hop on the train to go to class. My commute to class would usually take around 25-30 minutes. After I would get off the metro, I would stop at the cafe that is in my school and grab a croissant, then I would go to class until 11. After class I would want a taste of America sometimes and I would get on the metro and go to McDonalds or KFC. We would try and have a plan for what we were going to do after that class for the day. We would either go to the beach, hop on a train to Sitges, a small beach town that is about 45 minutes away by train, or just get out in the Barcelona streets and see which rooftop bar was calling our name. I would say 40 out of the 45 nights we were there we ended up going out on the town and having a few drinks, meeting people our age from all over the world.
One of the things I cherish the most about my study abroad experience is the amount of life changing people that I met while being over there. I now have friends for life from Amsterdam, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Ibiza, and many more places around the country. We also were able to meet a ton of American students that were not in our program or from our schools. I have a trip planned already to go visit one of my good buddies I met in Barcelona who goes to school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. When people say that the people you meet while living in another country change your life, they are not lying. I will cherish the friendships I made this summer for the rest of my life. Barcelona will always have a special spot in my heart, and I cannot imagine my life now without my life changing experience across the world.
Matthew Dorris is majoring in Entrepreneurship and spent the summer of 2021 studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain through ISA. Matthew had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The experience is life changing and I would not take a single second back. Barcelona, I Love You.”
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