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By Tania Silva, Illinois Wesleyan University

After being in Spain for three months…

  1. It will feel like week two…
    After my classmates and I came back from a weekend group trip to Granada, it finally hit all of us that Granada was our last group trip before heading back home. That was two weeks ago. Being in Barcelona for the past three months has given me so many beautiful sites to see and visit throughout the semester that time has flown by very quickly. Whether you study in Barcelona for a month, or for four, make sure to go out and explore. Barcelona is filled with magical hidden spots, and even three months later, I still find myself finding new things every day.
  2. You will eat as all the patatas bravas and pan con tomate that you can
    I think all of my friends, professors, and mentor are sick of hearing me say how much I love patatas bravas. They are sooo good! By month three, you will know your favorite tapas (and your not so favorite ones), so make sure to enjoy them, along with your other favorite foods, as much as you can before you leave.
    Some of my favorite tapas are: patatas bravas (surprising right?), huevos rotos, botifarra,and chorizo
    Some of my favorite plates are: fideua (it’s like a paella but with noodles instead, 100% recommend!), paella, tortilla, and cannelloni
  3. You won’t get lost anymore (or you’ll get purposely lost, either is ok!)
    By month three, you will be in expert in the metro and bus system. Sometimes, tourists will even ask YOU for directions. Do you feel like a local yet? But, as nice as it is to know where you are, pick a day to turn off all of the maps on your phone and just go out and explore in a neighborhood that you don’t know so well. My friends and I tried this a couple of weeks ago and we ended up finding the Parque de la Espanya Industrial. Here, we found a cool park/slide structure (you’ll need to visit to understand) and as we continued walking, got orientated by The Arenas but continued exploring nonetheless. Take a day to forget about social media and/or your maps and just take in the magnificent things that Barcelona has to offer.
  4. You will be seen as a local
    By month three, people will know your order. I started going into Vivari, a restaurant near my homestay, to grab a coffee and study when I didn’t want to study in my room. By now, the workers know my order and we will have conversations once in a while. It feels nice being able to go into a place and having locals know who you are. Like I said before, knowing your way around Barcelona definitely comes as a plus because I have had many tourists come up to me and ask for directions. Hint: if you try learning Catalan, you will be loved by the people of Barcelona!
  5. You will be stressed about finals (but, you can be stressed on a rooftop bar!)
    By month three, you will realize that finals for Barcelona SAE are this week. Crazy right! But with that in mind, it also means that summer is approaching and rooftop bars are now opening up. If you are okay with studying outside, I highly recommend studying here. You can take in a beautiful view which should hopefully help destress you just a bit. If that doesn’t help, then just think about Semana Santa the following week and all of the activities that will be going on throughout the city.
  6. By month three, you will be glad that you picked Barcelona SAE and decided to study abroad!
    And you will be thinking about the next time you will be traveling back to Barcelona 🙂