About two months ago, I returned from one of, if not the best experience of my life so far. It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so glad I took it. I of course, am referring to the study abroad I did with API and the Communications department called the, “Creative Journey”. The trip was a guided trip in Barcelona, where we stayed in an international student hotel called the Beyoo Marina. The hotel in itself was near ideal circumstances as it was in a great location close to the subway and any major amenities we could need, not to mention the beautiful city of Barcelona with its rich history and culture. I couldn’t ask for a more idyllic study abroad experience. On the trip, I feel I learned many useful things and had many irreplaceable memories.
The trip constantly felt surreal to me, hence the title, “After The Barca-Dream”. I was in a country I have never been (nor landmass I have never been on for that matter) where the people spoke a language I did not, and with people that accompanied me that went to the same school, but I had never met. It was strange at times and truly felt like a dream if I thought about it too much. The trip was truly a moment of growth for me, because I had to learn to adapt to a new culture and learn to adapt quickly. Up to this point, I never really had an experience that was this intense in terms of change. I had been on the road before and experienced different cities in America, but at the end of the day truthfully American places are very similar in terms of culture. Spain was very different from America, but by the end of the trip I had grown to really love the city of Barcelona and was able to navigate the area I was in like a local, even picking up a little of the language (and I do mean a little as in very little, but some!).
This learning experience of getting used to a vastly different culture was only part of this trip though as this was a study abroad trip and up until now I have really only talked about the abroad part of my experience. The trip honestly was a very laid back approach to learning. There were no formal classroom lectures and all learning was done by attending various workshops which in my opinion were all very valuable opportunities. We attended a presentation on design from a group that worked with many big names like Spotify and the BCN football team, learned how to cook from a professional chef, toured the city with a full time youtuber, learned to use printing presses and much more. I think the connecting thing overall and the thing I learned during this trip was the creative process and how it could be applied to a job in communication. I think us as people think that creativity comes from a place of intense intentionality, but I think in a lot of ways this is wrong and truly people are able to hone creativity by just doing their respected pursuit. On this trip, for example, I never studied how to do any of the stuff we did in the workshops. I just entered and had a guide and from there I just put stuff together and eventually arrived with a product. I think in many ways as well this can be an analogy for much of the trip. I knew roughly what it all would be like, but I didn’t really until I was there.
In conclusion, the trip was very impactful to my life and my future as a student and a creative person. I had lots of fun with the material and I had a lot of fun working with the other students on projects and experiencing Barcelona together. I am so glad I did this trip and I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to anyone, if they are able and find it to be a worthwhile investment.
Oliver Lampley (BS Communication, BA Philosophy & Religion) spent the Summer 2023 studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain as part of a Communications department faculty led trip through API. Oliver had the following to say about studying abroad, “Study abroad can seem scary, but you should be open minded about it. You should study up on what kind of program you want to do and where you want to do it. I would one thousand percent do the trip again, but I was fortunate enough in finding a trip that suited me. I think this is very important to think about because we all have places we want to go, but the place and material can vastly influence what a trip will be like. So my big advice is to be sure everything looks right for you before you make the big decision.”
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