Guest Post by: William Hoffmann, a Foster Senior studying Marketing. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient who participated on the Foster Barcelona Program (ALBA) in Spain for Fall Quarter 2018.
Spending 10 weeks studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain has been an experience that I will remember and cherish forever. From trying new foods, learning about traditions, and just exploring the city has vastly broadened my perspective by visiting this culture.
My Art and Architecture class was one of the most fun and interesting classes I took while studying. We got to walk through amazing Romanesque and Gothic architectural structures such as the Sagrada Familia, and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya that helped me learn about Catalonian history. It gave me a higher appreciation and knowledge for different types of art and architecture through different movements that I can now take with me to many other museums around the world. It was a lot of fun also as we did a lot of walking which not only helped us get familiar with the city but helped us find cool new paths to school, restaurants, cafes, and stores that we could mentally note for later.
Every other Monday we had a cooking class in which our energetic Barcelona native teacher showed us how to make traditional Catalonian meals. Seafood paella, Catalan sausages, rabbit, and tomatobread with olive oil were all incredibly delicious and incredibly simple to make! Because of this class, I knew what to cook for myself during my time there. Cooking with classmates was a good time to get to know them as well, which helped create new lasting friendships.
There are quite a few neighborhoods and quarters in Barcelona such as Gothic, Eixample, and Gracia which are all unique with their own sites, restaurants, etc. It was fun exploring these different sections of Barcelona, especially the neighborhood Gracia, where I lived. Everyone around the area was very kind, friendly and helpful. It seemed there were an unlimited number of restaurants, tapas bars, shops, and cafes that I didn’t even know about until way into my time there and I still did not see them all! But it was nice going to my favorite cafes every day on my way to and from school, as I just loved the atmosphere and the employees remembered my usual orders, which was cool to see. Even though I could not converse with them extensively due to my lack of Spanish, it made me feel like a local and apart of the culture of Catalonia.
Going abroad is something I am glad I did. It places you out of your comfort zone and gives you the chance to do something you have never done before, like converse with someone who does not speak English or try new foods. Going abroad for me changed me for the better and I look forward to exploring more cultures outside of my own, again.