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The countdown has officially ended! After months of preparation, uncertainty, COVID tests, and many challenges, I made it to the city I will call my home for the next three months!

There was extensive planning and preparation that had been done in the few months leading up to my arrival in BCN. Not only was I preparing myself to go abroad for three months, I was faced with an added challenge that no other student has ever experienced before – COVID-19. There were a lot of roadblocks that my university had to overcome in order to  allow us into the country, and to be quite frank, I was skeptical if the trip would even go.

One COVID test and two socially distant airplane rides later…here I am, in my new home, sitting on the terrace with my chocolate croissant and café con leche. 🥐☕

By the way, did you know it’s 61 degrees here?!

I had some expectations upon my arrival to Barcelona. I have been out of the United States before but I have never traveled to Europe – let alone Spain. My expectations were quickly exceeded within my first few days of being here. The vibrant colors, lively streets, and eccentric architecture is unlike anything I’ve experienced. 

Want to Know Something Cool?

Due to COVID, Spain is not allowing any travelers from the United States to enter the country. We had to get permission from not only the United States government, but the country of Spain itself to be allowed to enter the country. I am 1 of 60 students currently studying abroad in BCN this semester and I think that is pretty incredible! 

After living here for about 2 weeks or so, I have settled into my new home and find my way venturing through the city. I love that I can pretty much walk anywhere and get to where I am going in less than an hour. It is definitely a unique opportunity that most people may never get the chance to experience. Since there are no tourists right now, the city is in its authentic setting. The streets are much quieter and the culture of Barcelona is starting to surface again. I really get the sense of what it’s like being a resident of Barcelona. I sometimes feel that I blend in as a local – though my blonde hair kind of gives it away.  

Madelyn Schmitt

Madelyn is from Illinois Wesleyan University, and studied abroad through a Customized Program in Spring 2021.