The last 4 months have been some of the most life changing, incredible months of my life. From all the new friendships I’ve created to the new food I’ve tried and places I’ve gotten to visit, I could not be happier with my decision to study abroad in Barcelona. And while it goes without saying that my experience in Spain has been an overwhelmingly positive one, moving to a new country, learning a new language, and meeting new people is never an easy thing to do. Like many study abroad students experience, there were times when being in a completely new environment was overwhelming, and while not everyone can adapt to a new situation the same way, here are some of the things I did to make Barcelona my home away from home.
Create a Routine
One of the biggest things I realized when I got to Barcelona was how different my schedule would be from my normal schedule back home. From the time I ate to the place where I got my groceries and went to class, everything about my day to day life changed when I came to Barcelona. Adjusting to a new life is hard when everything is so unfamiliar, but creating a new routine that made me feel comfortable made it easier to adjust to living in Barcelona as a student.
Push Myself to Meet New People
Making friends can be hard, especially when you are adjusting to life in a new place at the same time, but one of the things that helped me feel most at home in Barcelona was pushing myself to put myself out there, make connections, and meet new people. As someone who left my small town to go to college out of state, home has always been more about people than a place to me. When I surrounded myself with people I loved to be around who supported me, it became so much easier to adapt to all of the other changes that come with studying abroad for a semester.
Travel and Explore
While it might sound counter intuitive, traveling to other countries and cities on the weekends was also one of the biggest things that helped to make Barcelona feel like home. I remember the first time stepping off the metro back in Barcelona after a long weekend of navigating an unfamiliar city in a language that I could barely understand, and feeling so relieved to be back. It was like taking a breath of fresh air that I didn’t know I needed. Now, everytime I come back to Barcelona after a long weekend of traveling, it feels more and more like home and I can’t wait to be back in the city that has become my second home.
Being in new unfamiliar situations has made me realize how so many aspects of my life in Barcelona have become intertwined with my sense of normalcy. I feel at home when I can pick up fresh fruit from the fruteria that is a 2 minute walk from my dorm, when I can make a late night snack run to the Supermercat a block down the street or call up my friends to go for a walk or catch up over a coffee or tapas.
I am truly proud of how well I have been able to adapt to life in Barcelona. Picking up your life and moving to an entirely new country where you don’t know anyone can seem like a really daunting decision to make, but there are so many amazing experiences that make it so worth it. Although my time in Barcelona is drawing to a close, I wish I could stay here forever. I have made some of the best friendships I have ever had, created some of my favorite memories, and learned so much about myself in the process.