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It feels like only three days ago that I got off my flight to Barcelona and then slept for 12 hours following jetlag. Today, I started packing my bags to go back home. It feels as if I’ve been here for years, but simultaneously it feels as if I’ve only been in Barcelona for a few days. In reality, I have been in Barcelona since early January. It is now the end of March. Where did all the time go?

My biggest anxiety when I was coming to Barcelona was how I would fill my time. I had classes and I had an internship planned, but with no clubs or sports or gyms or friends, I was unsure how much free time I would truly have. Luckily, making friends was incredibly easy. I was lucky to meet some friends on a tour hosted by Barcelona SAE, only to learn that they lived a floor above me in my apartment. Everybody I met was friendly, welcoming, and fun, which helped to keep my notoriously small social battery active. Between new friends, new foods, and a new city, time seemed to fly. Once classes and my internship started, it only accelerated. For the month of January, every experience was a new experience. There was always something going on with my classes, internship, friends, or in the city. Never a dull moment. 

By the time February rolled around, I had found myself settling down. I had a routine, yet I was still having adventures. Barcelona is a great city to travel to other cities because of its accessible airport and the fact that it serves as a hub for several budget airlines. Every student’s dream. During the three months I was in Barcelona, I did more traveling than any other point in my life. I had saved up for a very long time (starting in high school) because I wanted to travel freely when I went abroad. Travel was FAR more accessible and affordable than I initially thought, especially when traveling with friends. For most of the February weekends, I was traveling out of Barcelona to places like Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Geneva. I would work at my internship during the week, leave Friday morning, then return Sunday night. Between traveling, my internship, and going out with friends, it feels like I never sat down throughout the entire month of February. Once I hit the final weekend of February, I had to catch my breath. I stayed in Barcelona, hiked a bit, and laid on the beach. A perfect end to a perfect month.

March went by way too fast. I climbed Mulhacen (II), met up with old friends, did very touristy activities around Barcelona, and finished my classes and internship. Before I knew it, March was over. Now, it is the end of March. I’m ready for what comes next after the program, yet I obviously look back fondly on the experience as a whole. I’ve made amazing friends, had incredible adventures, ate delicious foods, danced, climbed mountains, and slept in once or twice. If I could have more of one thing though, it would be time. Time to continue my travels, spend time with the friends I’ve made here, and try more local restaurants. I am ready for the future but will always be sentimental of my time in Barcelona. My experiences in Barcelona will always inspire confidence in me, encourage me to step outside of my comfort zone, and remind me of some of the most amazing times in my life. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and to the people who made it what it was. So adieu to Barcelona and I hope to see you soon. Merci. 

Joshua Rodriguez

Josh Rodriguez is a Systems Engineering major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and studied abroad at SIS in Spring 2022.