Adventure with ALBA

Guest post by: Junior in Finance, Jackson Herzog. He participated in the ALBA Barcelona Summer Program in Summer 2019. 

When my plane touched down in Barcelona, I was unsure of what to expect for the 6 weeks that lay ahead of me. I was nervous, but more excited to explore the city and the history that was made it what it is today. To my pleasure, the whole experience was everything I could have asked for and more. The first week was the hardest, but also the most fun. Our whole program bonded super quickly despite being from a few different schools, and many of the students knowing each other prior to the trip. One of my favorite memories from the whole trip was from that first week. The first Sunday when we arrived was the Festival de Sant Joan, a citywide holiday dedicated to the City of Barcelona and Catalan culture. Some of the administrators of my program invited us to the Bunkers del Carmel, which is an abandoned anti-aircraft base from the Spanish Civil War. It sits on top of a large hill on the northwest side of the city and has views of the whole city and the Mediterranean Sea stretching beyond. We met up there that night and watched the sunset over the distant blue horizon. As the sun disappeared, the sky became lit up with fireworks, coming from rooftops, street corners, and the beach in the distance. We walked back down into the city and the streets were like a war zone, with children and adults alike running around with firecrackers, sparklers, and poppers all going off at once. We walked all the way down to the beach amid this chaos. At the beach, the sand was packed with people all dancing, drinking, and enjoying the fireworks. We all joined in the festivities, and before we knew it, it was almost 4 in the morning. We made our way back to our apartments and went to class the next day on 2 hours of sleep. The experience was the perfect way to introduce us to the culture and was well worth the exhaustion the following day. There is no better way to experience different cultures than to immerse yourself in them, and the ALBA Program did a fantastic job of giving us every opportunity to be a part of the culture.