During my first week in Barcelona, I vividly remember Laura Hommema from Barcelona SAE's Student Life team saying something along the lines of, “Don’t let a setback such as taking the wrong metro discourage you and minimize your overall progress.” This is something that has stuck with me to this day and applies to more areas of my life than just those few short months abroad. It did however directly apply to the metro situation that Laura explained during orientation.

Throughout my first week in Barcelona, I took the wrong metro several times, as most people do. It was no big deal though as I quickly understood how to navigate the system throughout Barcelona, and eventually, I became an “expert” … that was until my very last night in Europe. My friends organized a goodbye party, which was a great way to celebrate our time abroad before we parted ways. I planned my departure from their apartment just in time to catch what I thought was the last metro back to the Poble Sec neighborhood. After about 5 minutes on the metro, I realized I did indeed take the last metro of the night - just in the opposite direction.

I hopped off at the next stop and had the option of either paying for a taxi or navigating several buses back to my apartment. Eventually I got back after about an hour of bus rides. During the journey back to my apartment, I had a lot of time on the bus to either get annoyed at myself for screwing up or laugh at the fact that my time in Europe came full circle, as my trip started the same way it ended, getting on the wrong metro line. I chose the latter.

There are many ways to look negatively at situations, especially when being in a new environment. If I could give one piece of advice to people going abroad other than learn to laugh at yourself when you screw up, it would be to enjoy each experience individually, as all the places you visit will be drastically different. The hardest question people ask me about my study abroad experience is, “Which place did you enjoy the most?” For context, I visited a total of 11 countries during those four months, so I have plenty of options to choose from, however, I cannot compare any two weekends to each other because each trip was entirely different. I even went to Italy on two separate occasions within 10 days, and even those weekends are not comparable as I went to completely different areas of the country, with different people, while doing completely different activities.

Enjoy the journey as much as you can, as these few short months will soon come to an end and you will return to your “normal” life back in your home country. Cherish the moments on the metro when it is packed, and you have to practically push people over to get off at your stop before the beeping doors close. Learn to try new foods, languages, and activities that you have never been exposed to. Meet as many people as you can from other countries at hostels, bars, and even while walking around a new city. Take the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone as much as you can so that you have no regrets looking back on this incredibly unique time in your life, as you may never have the same opportunity again in the future.

As for my personal public transportation tips that you can take with you during your travels, Apple Maps was my chauffeur throughout each new city as well as Barcelona itself. Default your maps to public transport, and your phone does the rest. From telling you which color metro line to take, when the next bus will arrive, and even helps get you to the correct terminal when taking the airport shuttle.

Dakota in Morocco

Dakota Banks

Dakota Banks

Dakota is a senior at the University of Miami majoring in International Studies with minors in Finance and Business Law. He studied abroad at the School for International Studies (SIS) in the Fall 2023 semester and served as a Barcelona SAE Alumni Ambassador for the Spring 2024 semester.



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