Hi again. It’s now the 6th of July as I write this on a terrace in Barcelona. Since my last post, I have travelled to Mallorca, Valencia, and Madrid during the weekends while working at my internship office and attending classes during the weekdays.
Mallorca, one of the Balearic islands, was a wonderful time. A few of my friends and I took a short plane flight from Barcelona to the island early one Friday morning, and started our time on the island with a brunch. We then explored some of the beaches on the island before continuing to see some of the other notable sights near Palma, the island’s capital. During my short time in Mallorca, I was able to visit the Catedral de Mallorca and the Castell de Beliver. The Castell de Beliver offered gorgeous views of the city and the mountainous island. Additionally, I walked many of the town streets around Palma and went to a handful of restaurants and bars along the beach.
Valencia was another very fun trip where I explored many of the shops and amazing street art around the streets of the city. I visited the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of the Arts and Sciences) and the Valencia Cathedral. I also passed by the Casco Histórico on my way to the Central Market. My friends and I then ate some seafood paella, which is a dish originating in Valencia. From Valencia we took a bus back to Barcelona on Sunday night in time for my classes on Monday.
Finally, this last weekend I went to the city of Madrid, the Spanish Capital. My hotel was right along Puerta del Sol, which is a public square and a very well known site in the city. I spent my time in Madrid exploring the Retiro Park and the Temple of Debod with my friends. My second night consisted of getting dinner at Restaurante Botín (the oldest restaurant in the world) and spending some time in Plaza Mayor before heading back to my hotel. I was also able to take a short train ride to Segovia, where I saw the Aquaduct of Segovia and the Alcázar de Segovia.
Traveling to these places has been the experience of a lifetime, and my only complaint is that I did not have more time to spend in each of the places I went. That being said, I was always excited to return to Barcelona as well, whether it be by plane, train, or bus. Besides visiting the local attractions and making friends with the people in my study abroad program, I love being in Barcelona because of my internship and the classes I am taking as well. My internship is at a Coliving Startup called Enso based in Barcelona, and the opportunity I have had to work abroad has been amazing. I have been able to compare the work culture in Spain to the work culture back at home, and thus observed some differences, the biggest one being the level of formality between team members, interns, and supervisors. At my internship, I have thus gotten to know several team members very well, and that connection is a key takeaway for me as I intern abroad. Even though the primary language at the office is Spanish (of which I now speak very little), the team has ensured that I am comfortable and feel welcomed.
In addition to my internship, I have taken a Spanish 101 class during my study abroad program (a well-suited class for Spain, I would say). Walking 20 minutes to the education center for class has always been a pleasant walk, as I pass many sights like fountains and interesting buildings on my way there. I attend the class twice a week, each time for 3 hours, although we usually get a 15-20 minute break during which I often get coffee or a sandwich from a nearby cafe. The class is intensive but very manageable with my internship work and travels.
By now, I have had quite a handful of experiences here in Spain. Accordingly I would advise students considering a study abroad experience to make the most of their location by going on excursions to gain a deeper understanding of the country and culture in which they are in. That was the primary reasoning behind my choice to travel to as many locations as I have thus far. Especially in a six-week long program like the one I am doing right now, there is no time to wait if you desire to travel to destinations near your program location. Additionally, taking the time to plan out what sights my friends and I wanted to see in each location beforehand helped us see and do as much as possible in our limited time during our trips.
I now only have about 10 days left with my program, and I can say that I am very glad I engaged in a study abroad experience early in my college career. I have learned how to become comfortable in vastly unfamiliar situations, how to make friends with strangers, and how to adapt into a culture much different than my own. Personally and professionally, I have grown much through this experience, and with 10 days left, I feel that it flew by. Blink and you’ll miss it!
Until next time,