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I came to Barcelona alone, but I’m leaving with loads of fun, unforgettable memories spent with the most amazing people. From day one, I arrived making new connections with people who turned out to be good friends of mine while here. On the flight to Barcelona from JFK in New York, there happened to be 4 other students from my program: Jake, Natalie, Marcellus, and John. It was the best coincidence because we instantly shared our excitement for studying abroad and formed a pretty tight bond. Three out of the four happened to be fellow SU students! When we got integrated with the rest of the program, everyone seemed to group up and make friends. I grew close with so many fun personalities, but my closest circle undeniably includes Safa, John, and Marcellus.

I met Safa on my very first day in Barcelona. I went to a meetup to get acquainted with some other students from my program and Safa was the first girl I laid eyes on and instantly knew we were going to be great friends. She is from Iraq and her Arab background is something I am quite familiar with because of my high school best friend who is Egyptian, Lina. She reminded me a lot of Lina and I got to connect with her in that way. She now lives in North Carolina and goes to NC State, majoring in Biomedical Sciences with hopes of becoming a dentist, JUST LIKE ME! That was such a solidifier into a great friendship ahead. The best part of meeting her was that it just so happened to be her 21st birthday! I personally am a birthday fanatic and was so ecstatic to have been able to celebrate later on that day. From there on out, she has become my closest girlfriend during my time abroad and I am 1000% certain that we will maintain our friendship beyond our time abroad.

John Aligata is undoubtedly another one of my tightest connections that I have made here. He was one of the four people I met on the flight to Spain. He is from Connecticut and majors in computer science at Plymouth State University. Now, imagine the funniest nerdy boy with the most analytical thinking ever. At first, I thought I wouldn’t have ever connected the way I did with him because he looked so different from the friends I usually make, but the beauty of this whole experience is being able to make friends from all different kinds of backgrounds and personalities. The moment I knew he was my buddy for life was when he told me he was a Capricorn; my other best friend, Ashlee, is a Capricorn, and even though it’s silly to believe in things like astrology, it has not failed me because John is indeed just like Ashlee. Ever since then, we share a true friendship that will live on after this. We already have plans to visit each other back in the States at SU!

Marcellus or Cell is my most unexpected bond yet. He goes to Susquehanna and I’ve known him since freshman year, but we just were never close. I have always seen Cell and even talked to him before in light passing, but now we got to know each other better and built a great bond as well. He was also on the flight to Spain and happened to be host brothers with John, which they found out there! Since we all stay in home stays, we are pretty close because most of our program stays at a Student Hotel, so we stick close, sharing common homestay experiences. I’m so glad I got to study abroad because I would have never gotten the chance to really meet Cell. Who knew he was so chill?!

The last relationship worth mentioning is my host mom, Ana. <3 As mentioned before, she is a Dominican widow who feeds me, does my laundry, and provides a family-like atmosphere while I live in her apartment. We share hour to two hour long dinners together every night with long talks about our days and other life topics. She really is like a second mom and treats me so well! I definitely got so lucky with her being my host mom.

I’d also like to shout out some honorable mentions that have also grown close to my heart: Brody, Natalie, Annabelle, Katie, Julia, Emil, Kylie, and so many more. These are just my friends from the program; I’ve also met some locals that happen to be from all over Europe like a French guy named Tim and an Italian girl named Michelle. I’m so grateful to have been able to form such valuable ties that I’d never get the chance to if I hadn’t studied abroad. The best part of all is that I know for sure that these relationships will stay with me forever.

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