This past fall I spent the semester in Barcelona, Spain. I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I honestly do not even know where to start. The first month I was there, I just explored the city. Taking walking tours, hoping on the city bus, figuring out the metro, embracing the city. I feel like I know more about Gaudi than my own brother and if I am being honest it is going to be a while before I eat another patatas bravas, it consumed 80% of my diet.
While Barcelona was phenomenal, I was not missing this opportunity to roam Europe. My roommate who I met there and other girls in my program took it upon ourselves to make the most out of this experience. For the entire month of November, and most of December we went to a new country each weekend. First up, Paris. As you would imagine, Paris was a dream. Have you ever danced with strangers under the Eiffel Tower? Because I thoroughly recommend. I will say, at this time we were still figuring out how to be savvy travelers so there might have been one or two bus misses. Nonetheless, we got to everywhere we needed to go. Then after Paris, Amsterdam, Morocco, Greece, and Sevilla.
Amsterdam is truly one of those cities out of a storybook. The cobblestone sidewalks, bikes flying past you, sunsets to die for. I do not think I can find the right words to describe Morocco. We paid this travel agency 160 euros to house, feed, and take us around Morocco for five days. 160 euros! Our guide, Ali, packed us into a van and we road tripped around the country. Spent a total of about 20 hours in that van, but when the views are like how they were, it goes by fast. My favorite day, of probably my entire life, was Saturday. We woke up and drove to the Sahara Desert. Where we four-wheeled to camels that we got to ride! I rode a camel in the Sahara Desert, no big deal. After about 30 minutes, we stopped and sand sledded down the sand and watched the sunset. Peak life moment.
After Morocco, we took Athens by storm. I will say, the Greeks are very hot and cold. They were either yelling at us because we sneezed too loudly, or giving you a big kiss goodbye. One day we booked a day cruise that took us to three islands outside of Greece. If you have ever seen the Disney movie ‘Luca’, the island towns looked like they were right out of that movie. Following Athens was Sevilla. Sevilla is a city at the very bottom of Spain. Our program brought us and we were able to watch a Flamenco show were Flamenco originated, cool stuff.
Our last trip of the semester was to Italy. We had about four days off school in early December so we took it upon ourselves to have an Italian invasion. We flew into Venice, then took a train to Florence, and to wrap it all up Rome. Staying in each city for about 2 days. I do not know where I have been but I had NO IDEA Venice is expected to be underwater by 2100. It definitely put things into perspective as we were exploring, knowing one day there will be people who will never get the chance to see any of this. Florence was a dream, and Rome was a little more of a nightmare. We had some complications with our sleeping situation but once we got it all figured out it was game time.
Not to take light away from Barcelona, but I just had to mention those trips because they were a once in a lifetime thing and I will never forget it. To wrap up my semester I made sure to do all the things in Barcelona I hadn’t got to. Mocco Museum, Park Guell, Casa Batllo, all of it. I will say, I think my favorite part of the entire semester was meeting all the people I did at my school. I was one of the only people who went to a school with local Spaniards, and other exchange students. I would be in a group project with a girl from Italy, a girl from Barcelona, and a boy from Norway. Never in my life have I been surrounded by so much diversity. That was one experience money couldn’t buy.
The little things are what truly made my experience. Running to the last bus because we know if we do not make it we are going to have a long walk home. Picking up a baguette and brie on my way home from school and finishing it with my roommate on our balcony. Waking up at 3am almost every Friday because those are always the cheapest flights. Having a last minute beach day because we felt like it. Barcelona has given me so much, the least I could do is hype her up a little.
Analisa Keegan (BS Marketing) spent Fall 2021 studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain with ISA. Analisa had the following to say about studying abroad, “You will meet some of the coolest, down to earth people in your entire life. This is a kind of experience money can’t buy. Just do it.”
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