Guest Post By: Leslie Cisneros, a Junior studying Marketing with the Certificate of International Studies in Business. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through ABLA Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, during Spring Quarter 2022.
I truly believe that studying abroad is worth every cent and time during your undergraduate study! I had the opportunity to live in Barcelona, Spain for three months. I decided the best time to go was during the spring quarter; getting sun-kissed would be ideal. Growing up in Seattle, we do not get much sun till June; but to my surprise, I landed in Barcelona in late March, and it was raining. I blame myself; I did not do much research on the weather, I had to pack only summer clothes, but it was a fun learning curve.
Before leaving I was stuck deciding on my housing. I landed on the ALBA shared apartment option. There were many intriguing aspects, you get to live in an apartment like a local, under the roof with other ALBA students and you get a whole room to yourself. I thought what better way to explore and live in a new country than with other students who come from your home country? I got to meet the most wonderful and like-minded people who I am still friends with after leaving. Our late-night walks, dinners, travels, movies, workouts, and many more things we did together has given me a lifetime of memories! I had just met these girls and we were already seeing the world together. (The photo was from our Morocco trip; thanks to the BCN TRIPS app we found many more trips).
I think the best way to explain my time in Barcelona is by walking you through one of my busiest days. I lived two blocks away from Las Ramblas and a 10-minute walk from the ALBA building. I am a night owl so waking up late is ideal. On a Tuesday morning, I would wake up at 8:30 AM or 9:00 AM if I am pushing it. My first class was at 10:30 am, Art & Architecture. Since this was a destination class, I had to take the metro, no more than a 30-minute commute. To make my mornings better, I would stop by the café called, Con Pan, for my one-euro coffee (so good); which by the way they have the best chocolate muffins (my roommate and I had them all time for about 2 euros)! My first class was a three-hour class, but it was once a week, and it would fly by because it was less like a lecture and more like a cool tour around the city. After class, I had two hours before my next. Normally I would go get lunch, my favorite spot was, Mahalo Poke, the best Poke I have ever had! I was obsessed and since I had a sweet tooth, I tried their Hua Bowl which was ‘healthy’ ice cream 10/10. I mostly liked to walk and explore before getting to class, I would find so many local stores/venues in the area around the school, an easy way to make time fly. My second class was Spanish and Catalan Language & Culture, with Luis, an amazing professor who got me to say “Vale” all the time. My third class was my last class called, Spanish Professional Development, we would go in-depth on what you need to do to be successful when applying for a job in Spain. My last class would end at 5:30 PM, which was a long day, but the classes were far from boring. Heading home, I would normally make a quick stop at the grocery store, Carrefour Market or Día, and buy ingredients since it’s very affordable to shop. I will say Aldi is the best when it comes to prices, it was just a farther walk for me. If I felt like having dinner out, I had great shrimp paella around the corner from my home, O’Toxo 3 Brother. At night to work out sometimes I would run to the beach, a 15-minute walk, and enjoy the view as the sun sets. I just miss how conveniently close things were and how reliable local transportation was; I always felt safe being around the city and exploring on my own.
Being in Barcelona you are practically living on the beach; the breeze and sandy beaches were alive no matter the rain or shine. It was a wonderful location to feel home away from home. I think if you are considering studying abroad with ALBA Barcelona, your head is in the right space. I would like to emphasize that you need to participate in the Friday excursions and cooking classes; hours of planning go behind this for you to have a great experience! In addition, I had the best meals when attending, please take advantage it will make your trip 10 times better!
P.S. I posted some videos on TikTok during my time about other weekend trip I took around other countries; @Lelesnicole.