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 recently just finished my junior year at CSULB. I really enjoyed all my classes and teachers but couldn’t help but miss Barcelona just about every day. To be more involved with the psychology department, I applied and have been accepted to be a “PRO Guide” in the psychology office. This title means I will be working in the psychology office and helping students get on track to graduate as well as get them involved in research, workshops, and even offer help in various classes. I am currently working at an Italian restaurant in downtown Long Beach but am trying to find a job more related to the Psychology field during the summer. After coming back from Barcelona, I felt a big difference in myself and felt I had a clear few of what I wanted to do with my life/career. This past Spring semester, I was more focused, able to better manage my time, and received the best grades I’ve had throughout my time at CSULB. I feel like my focus and ambition was a direct result from my experience with Barcelona SAE and I am eager to travel again. Not only did my time abroad shape my goals, it completely altered my view of the world. I came back to the states with what I would call, “new eyes.” My mind was opened in a way that will forever change my view of culture, norms, and society differences. I am so grateful I was able to gain this new vision and cannot imagine a better abroad experience.
If you were to sum up your Barcelona experience in one to two words, what would you say? My Barcelona Experience is…
Explain why you chose those words.
I chose those words because when I was abroad, I often found out things about myself and the world that I never knew. Each day felt like an adventure and I was constantly thrown into new situations and environments. Not only did I gain a sense of confidence and awareness in myself, I understood all the various types of life that exist around me. In my cross cultural psychology class, we discussed many topics related to culture, race, gender, and sexuality. While discussing all of these topics, I always started with a certain view but after questioning and discussing our opinions, I had an entirely new outlook on the matter. For just about every topic discussed, we looked deeper into culture and societal norms. By understanding each culture as “different” rather than a hierarchical view as “better or worse,” I began to see the world in a whole new light. Being able to watch videos, hold discussions, and then see these differences in all the places I traveled to was life changing. I gained so much knowledge and respect for those who see the world differently and live their life accordingly. Understanding that the way I live my life is different from the person standing next to me, is quite humbling.
What was your favorite tour, day trip, or cultural activity? Why?
My favorite trip was the weekend trip to Granada. I enjoyed this trip the most because everyone in the program was able to go and it was really great to be able to get to know some more people in our program. The tour of La Alhambra was my favorite. It was such a beautiful place and the whole city had more of a small-town feel, which was a nice change from Barcelona. There was plenty of free time to walk throughout the town and take advantage of those yummy, free tapas. The flamenco show was a great addition, as well as the Arab baths. After the trip was over, we all were so sad to leave such an amazing city.
If you had one perfect day in Barcelona where would you go, and what would you do?
If I had one perfect day in Barcelona, I would start by going to get some breakfast on Las Ramblas with a friend. After breakfast, we would shop around in the stores for a bit and then head to the beach. We would relax and tan for a bit, then cool off in the water. We would get dinner close to the water and of course, Sangria. Once it started to get dark, we would head back to our apartment and shower to get ready for the night. We would meet up with friends for dinner, probably close to Las Ramblas. Afterward, head to a nightclub, preferably by the beach, where we would dance the night away.
What is one piece of advice that you have for future students coming to Barcelona?
One piece of advice I have for future students would be to try to explore a new place or neighborhood everyday. Even if you go alone, it is exciting to see the place you live in and all the city has to offer. It is easy to get comfortable in your new home and go out less and less. However, as cliche as it sounds, the time truly does fly by and you don’t want to be in your last few days feeling like you didn’t see everything you wanted to. Also, make good friends with those in your program and hang out as much as you can! Every experience is always more fun when you have good friends to share them with.
Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?
Barcelona SAE was the right program for me because it gave me everything I wanted from study abroad. The advisors were helpful, encouraging, and enthusiastic about not only Barcelona, but the entire study abroad experience. They were always available to talk, give advice, and answer questions. I felt free to explore the city but knew if there was a problem, someone would be there to help. The trips and tours planned throughout the semester were great additions to make our program feel like a family. The Barcelona SAE team truly made my experience everything I had hoped it would be.