What are you up to these days? Have you graduated? Are you working? How did your experience in Barcelona have an impact on your life?
I met so many wonderful people from all over the globe. I truly believe I made forever friendships during this experience. With these new friends, I also explored new cities and countries, tried new foods, got out of my comfort zone, and made lifetime memories.
If you were to sum up your Barcelona experience in one to two words, what would you say? My Barcelona Experience is…
Invigorating and Balancing
Explain why you chose those words.
Invigorating because there is something new to discover and learn at every corner. Barcelona is packed with incredible architecture, culture, style, and art.
Balancing because the different paces allowed me to experience personal things, I have not had the chance – or mind – to before.
What was your favorite place to eat in Barcelona? Favorite food?
Casa Lolea makes a bomb pasta risotto! My favorite Middle Eastern spot by UAB is Aladdin. I’d recommend the bamya. Salamanca has gooooood paella. Otherwise, I was always at the Boqueria getting fresh juices 🙂
What was your favorite tour, day trip, or cultural activity? Why?
My favorite activity was the group cooking class. I learned how to make a tortilla (now make it at home regularly) and bonded a lot with other students.
What was your housing experience like? Did you live in an apartment with other students? A homestay with a local family? A residence hall on your Barcelona campus?
I chose apartment housing and lived with five other girls near the Sagrada Familia. Over the four months, we learned a lot from each other and grew really close. We co-existed well and had a healthy and happy home environment. I would recommend this to other students; however, after listening to stories of other classmates’ homestay experiences, I would also recommend considering that option.
Is there a site in Barcelona that you would recommend to future students that may be a little more “off the beaten path”?
If you like shopping, go into the tucked-away streets in the Gothic Quarter near the Barcelona Cathedral. There you’ll find plenty of excellent vintage thrift shops with good finds.
If you had one perfect day in Barcelona where would you go, and what would you do?
A perfect day in Barcelona is getting a cortado (short coffee) and bocadillo at your local cafe, then visiting the Sagrada Familia for the first time. After taking in the magical Sagrada Familia, you’ll go to a tapas bar and have a Clara (lemon beer, if you drink), patatas bravas, a few croquettes, maybe a burrata salad, and mussels. Afterward, stroll down the Barceloneta beach or the La Rambla area. To wrap up the night, I would either stop for churros con chocolate or get an Aperol Spritz at a local bar.
What was something you were surprised to learn about Barcelona or Spain? Or what aspect of the country or city were you least expecting?
How open-minded the youth population is compared to the U.S. Although many churches are present, religion is not emphasized in society (from my perspective, compared to Egypt, my home country). I’ve always heard that Europeans are not timely, but that was not the case during my experience in Spain. Everything is on time!
What is one piece of advice that you have for future students coming to Barcelona?
Something I lacked doing was taking care of my health and spending more time in Barcelona. Drinking enough water and getting enough sleep is essential to keep from burning out. There is a lot to see and do – but you have time to do it! Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health as well.
I would also recommend spending a lot of time in Barcelona and attending different festivals and events, since they are so enjoyable! The city has beautiful museums and architecture, so make use of them.
Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?
I had a lot of support through Barcelona SAE whenever I needed it. The program brings students from around the globe, which opens you up to so much culture. I highly recommend Barcelona SAE and am very happy to have studied abroad with them. 🙂