After my six-hour flight to Dublin, two-hour layover, and two-and-a-half-hour flight to Barcelona, I am finally in my host country. Walking through a very empty airport, I still don’t know what to expect. My program scheduled to pick me up at the airport, but knowing no one on my flight I still felt very alone. Taking a peak outside I can already see, and feel the differences. The area outside the airport was not city like at all, I could barely see Barcelona, not a lot of cars around, and people are speaking a different language. I am scared out of my mind and questioning why I am studying abroad. As the driver picks us up and drives us to our apartments, I am trying to take all of the sites in, especially since this was my first time in Europe. At this point I am trying to settle into my new surroundings but I still feel like an outsider. But as the days went on I became more comfortable. The things that I don’t normally do at home I am now comfortable with. One of the biggest changes was taking the metro (train/subway) to class every day. Being in such a foreign place I was worried that I would easily get lost and not be able to find my way home, but after a few go arounds I find myself very comfortable, even when traveling by myself. I haven’t fully adapted to the Barcelona culture, but I am very well on my way.
Being in the middle stage or “liminoid” you don’t find yourself saying, “Oh I have changed so much from when I first got here.” But when writing these travel logs I can see that I have come a long way even in such a short amount of time. Things that I was scared about when being in Europe like, being pick-pocketed, not finding my way around a new city, adjusting to the culture shock, and losing my precious documents aren’t even in the back of my mind anymore. Another culture shock to me is the time people my age go out in Barcelona. In the states around 9-10 you can start going out, but here the clubs don’t even open until 12 am. Adapting to that was hard because it means you get home at six or even seven in the morning. Overall I still have a ton of growing to do but I am definitely evolving and slowly becoming a European (at least for four months).
My environment was changed but has been a very good one. The people I have met are very nice, especially since we are all in need of new friends to associate with. In my personal experience I only knew very few people studying abroad in Barcelona, but as my program had mandatory meetings with many other students in the program I noticed something. Several of the students knew upwards of 10 people studying in Barcelona, and were so excited to see each other. But in my case I only had few people, but I find myself in a great group who have planned our first weekend trip to Budapest!
Every day we all face challenges, and that is definitely prominent when you study abroad. Some of the challenges I have faced was planning trips to other countries. I never knew how much planning and preparation that it takes. When going on trips my parents always did everything, now that I don’t have them around I need to learn how to do it on my own. On page 171 of Slimback he states, “find imaginative ways to invite the unknown and cultivate a network of close-knit and supportive friends.” Now that I have been here for about a week I have numerous friends in my program but I have yet to meet many locals. Looking forward I would like to meet more and get to know them and have them teach me more about the Barcelona culture.
This picture describes me because I felt so little in a city to big and vibrant. Everything was new to me and nothing felt like home. But that is good for me and I will learn from all of these experiences. My thoughts are to myself always watching my back because of the known petty theft and new environment. And lastly it describes my actions because I am always questioning what I am doing, but at time goes on I will evolve into a person that is comfortable living in Barcelona.