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Katie Wiatrak

Pre-Med

University of Michigan
Studied Abroad at SIS
Katie is an undeclared major (Pre-Med) from the University of Michigan who studied abroad at SIS in the Summer or 2019.

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

I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was along the promenade at La Barceloneta near the beach. It was the first time I had ever eaten Patatas Bravas, which is one of my favorite foods here in Spain. Another reason I loved this restaurant is that I tried something new – Octopus! I would never expect myself to eat something so exotic, but it was actually delicious, and I’m so glad I tried it! Barcelona is certainly a city for trying new things!

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

My favorite programmed activity was the overnight to Tarragona. As a history geek, I love seeing Roman ruins, and it was so cool to walk through history all day. The tour of the city was very insightful, and the amphitheater was a sight to behold. Also the beach day was really fun! The water was clear and we even got to hike a little bit! It was a really great trip, so bring your camera!

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 stayed in a homestay, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. My host mom was so sweet, and I got along with my roommates really well! My spanish improved more than I could have expected, and my host mom made all these amazing meals for us! I really felt immersed in local life, and if I had lived in an apartment with other American students, I wouldn’t have gotten that same sense of belonging.

If you had one perfect day in Barcelona where would you go, and what would you do?

Honestly, I would probably just stroll through La Boqueria market. Barcelona has so many amazing attractions like Sagrada Familia and Park Guëll and the museums, but in La Boqueria you can really observe local culture and get a feel for what the people are like. Also there’s an amazing churro stand in the market that slathers chocolate all over the churros, so that would definitely be part of my perfect day. But hang onto your purse!

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

Put your phone down. When you go to the Magic Fountain at Montjuïc, don’t be one of those tourists holding up your phone taking snapchats of the beautiful colors. I’m saying this because I was one of those tourists, and the fountain was beautiful, but I wish I had looked up from my phone to really engage in the experience. That goes for pretty much all travel really, because if you’re looking at the world through your camera lens, you’re not really seeing it at all.