Emma Alcock

Sociology & Spanish

Illinois Wesleyan University
Studied Abroad at BIC (now SIS)
Emma is from Illinois Wesleyan University, and studied abroad at Barcelona International College (BIC) during the Spring of 2015.

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 just simultaneously got back from Barcelona and finished my sophomore year of college. But already, my experiences abroad have impacted my life. By practicing Spanish abroad, I have gotten better at the language and have developed a new excitement and motivation to finish my Spanish major. Also, my whole abroad experience has made me seriously think about giving back to the world joining the Peace Corps after college.

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

One of my favorite cultural activities was the language intercambio. I loved meeting students my own age and talking with them about their lives and universities. It was so cool that even halfway across the world in a completely different culture, I was bonding with people over similar food or music tastes! It made me feel so much more connected to my host country and the people in it.

Is there a site in Barcelona that you would recommend to future students that may be a little more “off the beaten path”?

The bunkers of Carmel are a lesser-known spot and just re-opened from being under construction. It’s free, not known to many tourists, and offers one of my favorite views of the whole city!

What was something you were surprised to learn about Barcelona or Spain? Or what aspect of the country or city were you least expecting?

I wasn’t expecting such a big city to have such a community feel. Besides the crazy, touristy areas like Plaça Catalunya, the city really felt small enough to get to know well in the time we were there. It was super friendly transportation-wise, and all the locals made me feel very comfortable and welcome. For a city of so many people, instead of feeling swallowed up, I felt like I belonged.

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

Definitely go see the tourist attractions, but only once. There are so many more awesome places in Barcelona to discover if you just ask your host family or any locals! Don’t be afraid to stray from the tourist places and explore a bit.

Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?

I loved this program because it really integrated me in Spanish culture. By the end of the semester, I really felt like I lived in Barcelona and could be a Spaniard. There were so many cultural activities and trips organized by the program that introduced me to not only Barcelona’s flavor, but Spain’s, and gave me an appreciation and understanding for the place I was calling my home for the semester. The staff were so helpful and friendly, and really did everything they could to help us have the best experience possible.