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*Note for facilitator: you do not have to say every line in here. If you feel like it’s going on too long, you can cut some of them out. 


Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. We are going to walk you through this journey that started a long time ago when you first decided that you were going to go abroad. When you made that decision, who was the first person that you told? What did they say? What did YOU say? 

  • How did your family and friends react?
  • At that time, what did you expect Barcelona to look like? What did you expect your room to look like, your university or internship placement? Who were you going to hang out with? 
  • Fast forward to right before you left home to come here. 
    • What did you pack? 
    • How much of what you packed did you not need? 
  • How was it when you said goodbye to your parents, to your friends… Who drove you to the airport? How did you feel when you boarded the plane?
  • When you were landing in Barcelona, how did you feel? 
  • Think about the first night at your homestay or apartment. Your first meal.  Did you get any sleep?
  • What was the first thing that really stood out to you, when you said: “Woah, this is so different from what I am used to.”
  • Remember the first time you came here, to orientation. Was the journey easy? Hard? Compare it to your journey back here today. 
  • Remember a time when you felt completely embarrassed by your Spanish.
  • Remember the first time you understood a joke in Spanish.
  • Remember that time that you got SO lost. And maybe that other time too. 
  • Remember the time that you navigated a new barrio without a map. How did you feel? 
  • Remember how full you felt after the first Catalan/Spanish lunch/calçotada.
  • Remember the time that someone or something made you laugh so hard you cried.
  • Now, remember a time when you felt completely alone. Did you also feel lonely? How did you cope with that? 
  • Remember a time you felt homesick – missing your family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, dog …
  • When you first felt that you really bonded with these people around you who you now consider some of your closest friends. And when you bonded with your homestay family
  • Think back to the taste of your first cafe con leche
  • And visiting a restaurant you loved
  • Think about that weekend trip where everything was easy and went perfectly
  • And that weekend trip where everything went wrong but now is a great story to tell
  • Remember how you felt when you learned how to flip a tortilla in a cooking class like a pro
  • Remember a time you were so frustrated that you cried
  • And that time you laughed so hard that you cried
  • That time your breath was taken away from a beautiful view
  • Now, come back to the present. I want you to think about tonight. 
    • Who do you need to say meaningful goodbyes to?
    • What have you bought that will be a souvenir to remind you of your experience?
  • Now you are on the plane – travelling home
    • Who will meet you at the airport? 
    • What will you answer when they ask: “How was it?!”
  • Now you are back in your room, unpacking, where do those souvenirs go?
  • Finally, you are going to dinner with your family at home. What’s your first meal going to be
  • That’s it, you’re home. 

Okay. When you are ready, open your eyes.


Rich Kurtzman

Currently based in Barcelona, Rich grew up in the great city of Chicago but has been lucky to call Barcelona his home for over 15 years. His studies in Spanish and Russian Language and Culture led him on a path toward study abroad ever since high school. Starting with a summer in St. Petersburg, Russia then a semester in Madrid, Spain, there is no doubt that his study abroad experiences shaped his future. He later did an internship in Milan, Italy, led student groups through Spain, and volunteered in the Philippines. After earning his M.A. in Spanish Applied Linguistics, Rich taught Spanish History and Culture to study abroad students in Barcelona. Since 2002, Rich has organized and directed all aspects of study abroad in Barcelona. Rich regularly presents at International Education conferences on various topics and also works as an intercultural consultant for multinationals in Spain.