Barcelona

Barcelona

 

To try and tell my study abroad story to Barcelona, Spain, seems like a daunting and impossible task. But I will give it a shot, just don't get mad at me if I leave some things out.

I suppose I will start on departure day. I left for my four month venture to Barcelona on January 7th, leaving behind a crying mother, a proud father, a excited-to-visit sister, and a “I love you but I don't want to care” brother. After saying my goodbyes, I was off to what I would later find out to be the best four months of my life.

I would end up living with four roommates. Two were from California, one from New York, and one was a local from Barcelona. He was our guide to the city, and frankly I am not sure how the rest of us would have managed the first week without him.

After settling down, I began to gain a feel for the city. The people, the streets, and everything in between. If I had to sum up my trip in four main parts, I would say friends, futbol, travel, and home.

The friendships I created while abroad are, in my opinion (and I hope my abroad friends as well), unbreakable. I will never forget the adventures we went on, or the 6AM walks home from the clubs. We went through good times and bad, but always managed to find a way out of everything. I met some really amazing people, and wouldn't have chosen any other people to spend my four months there with.

While in spain, I managed to find a futbol team to join. One of my coaches from home had a friend who played in Barcelona in an International league. I got invited to a practice, and I guess I played good enough to be invited to my first game in Barcelona. Some of you may not know me, but soccer is my past and present. I love playing soccer, and never thought in a million years I would be playing a game in Barcelona. Stepping onto the field for my first game, it was everything I could have ever imagined. The field was filled with Spanish advertisements, and the field was placed right on the beach. Little kids watch from behind the net, and sun beamed down on us like a rare Minnesota summer day. Needless to say, I will never forget that soccer season, nor the teammates I had over there.

Traveling was a major part of why I chose Europe, because all of the countries are so different that travelling would be a new experience every time. I ended up visiting seven countries, and even staying with extended family in Norway for a weekend (by far my favorite trip I took). If you end up studying abroad or traveling to Europe, visit new places, but don't just hop around. Take enough time at each location to enjoy the city, and everything it has to offer. Don't go simply to see the touristic places, but rather take the street less traveled, find a small coffee shop, and truly enjoy the foreign culture you are in.

Lastly, calling Barcelona my home is not really difficult to me. My apartment was just one block from the “Sagrada Familia”, which is the famous church of architect Gaudi. But not only that, I was able to become on with the city, getting to know the owner of the local coffee shop below our apartment, and finding secret lookout spots where tourists would never go. I felt like I lived there, which made my departure extremely difficult.

I will close with this one piece of advice, and I’ll keep it simple. If you are able to go abroad, do it. And if you do, enjoy the heck out of it, because you will never have an opportunity quite like this ever again.

Adios,

Mitch