Cooper Malin

English & Literature

Central Oregon Community College
Studied Abroad at BIC (now SIS)
Cooper is from Central Oregon Community College, and studied abroad on a Customized Program with COCC during the Fall of 2015.

If you were to sum up your Barcelona experience in one to two words, what would you say? My Barcelona Experience is…

Foot Traffic

Explain why you chose those words.

I took the metro almost exclusively in the beginning of my stay. Whether it was to my favorite cafes, to bookstores, to and from school, or to friends’ houses, my first option was almost always the metro. But before long, the metro became a dreadful experience. The underground series of tunnels are hot, cramped, and impersonal. As time went on, I began to become more familiar with the city, and I began to know the routes to and from my favorite places better. Before long, I was walking everywhere. Walking became my first option. It was pleasant being just another twenty-something face in the sea of people walking about. I am sure that more than once a goofy smile could be seen plastered onto my face.

What was your favorite place to eat in Barcelona? Favorite food?

The New York Cafe next to BIC. I was in there at least once a day, leaning against the bar ordering a cafe con leche. It didn’t take too long before the woman behind the counter would be making my cafe con leche as I was walking in. She is a lovely person and I tried my hardest to practice as much of my Spanish with her as I could. If I was too bleary-eyed for that, I would simply smile and she would smile right back. I did everything leaning against that bar; last minute homework assignments, journal entries, I would read between classes, and would talk with my classmates. They have the best chocolate croissants in town and I love their chorizo bocadillos.

What was your favorite tour, day trip, or cultural activity? Why?

I loved all of the neighborhood tours. For me personally, I had explored much of the neighborhoods prior to the tours. But they were a disconnected series of cafes and bars and streets that at one point or another I had explored. It was the neighborhood tours, that besides providing fascinating historical backgrounds for those particular areas, connected everything together into one cohesive network. Exploring became a bit easier. But my absolute favorite day trip was the hike out at Montserrat. I slept like a log that night, my body relishing the exercise. And the landscape was beautiful.

What is one piece of advice that you have for future students coming to Barcelona?

Remember that this is not a vacation. Three months (which is how long my experience was) is hard to visualize without something with which to relate it to. It can be an awfully long time. Though in my humble opinion, I could spend months and months and months more in Spain. But it is in a vacation that you disrupt your life for a minute to enjoy something exotic and different. Do not disrupt your life in Barcelona. It will only lead to scrambling and feeling rushed and at the very worst, feeling panicked. Do you enjoy spending a few hours in a bookstore browsing the shelves with headphones in and your favorite album playing? Barcelona has book stores, and please, spend hours browsing their shelves. Developing a comfortable routine will make your transition here so much the easier. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Because sometimes sitting with your classmates and with locals eating lunch and drinking coffee, telling jokes and sharing stories, will feel much better than seeing the Sagrada Familia ten times. Why? Because you are at a restaurant in Barcelona.

Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?

Barcelona SAE was the best program for me, because it provided a great balance between autonomy and guided supervision.