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Mallory McCormick

Human Biology

North Carolina State University
Studied Abroad at SIS
Mallory is a Human Biology major from North Carolina State University, and studied abroad at SIS in Spring 2023.

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

Personal Growth

Explain why you chose those words.

These words apply to so many different aspects of myself. I developed an even stronger sense of adventure, being able to travel and experience new things. I was able to create new relationships with people from all over the world. I gained a deeper understanding of cultural knowledge and awareness by immersing myself with an open mind. I experienced a sense of adaptability in myself, in which I had to adapt to the cultural changes and challenges of navigating a new country. With that being said, I also grew with resilience. My interpersonal skills are also much stronger after having to interact with so many new people.

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

My favorite places for traditional tapas were Tantarantana, Gats, and La Alcobita. When I missed American food, I would go to Burritos, which was like a knock-off chipotle, or Honest Greens.

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

My favorite cultural activity was the night of the Correfoc run. This occurred at the end of January, which was only a few weeks after I had arrived in Barcelona. It was one of the most incredible events I had ever witnessed and was one of the several things that made me fall in love with the city. The whole experience was surreal, with fire and sparks flying everywhere, but what I loved about it most was the sense of community that I felt in such a large city. There were hundreds of people there and everyone came together to simply have fun and we could feel the excitement in the air. People were dancing with each other and laughing and I had never experienced something like that anywhere else. One of the other reasons that made this such a fond memory was because I truly bonded with all of the friends that I had recently made. The intensity of the moment and the shared thrill brought us closer than ever.

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 lived in a Residence Hall in Poblenou that was called the Social Hub. I loved it! For me personally, I love to be around people a lot, but I also have my moments where I need some alone time to recharge. This living situation made it perfect for me to balance that. I had my own room and bathroom, and our building shared a communal kitchen and other hang out areas. The Social Hub specifically was a great building to live in because it had several amenities such as a cafe, a rooftop pool, and a gym. This made it easy to create a great lifestyle for myself and it also provided opportunities to meet so many other people living there!

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

I would definitely start the day at a coffee shop. I have plenty of favorites that include Brew, Good News, and Syra, in which none of them disappoint! I would then take a stroll in the best place to go to on a beautiful sunny day which is Park Ciutadella. I would take my coffee there to hang out and people watch. I’d then make my way over to la Boqueria for a nice lunch, which ends up being more like multiple snacks. Typically when I don’t have classes to attend to, I end up attending to my wallet and doing some damage by shopping in Las Ramblas. For dinner, I always prefer traditional tapas at one of my favorite places – Tantarantana, Gats, or La Alcobita. My perfect day also includes a sunset, so I would always go up to the rooftop of the Social Hub for a perfect view or the radiant sky over the city skyline. Some other favorite spots are the Bunkers and the rooftop of the Catalan History Museum.

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

This may sound very typical, but one thing that I learned about right away was the convenience of the public transportation. I had never lived in a large city at any point during my life, so I forgot how important the public transportation was for big cities. It was a little overwhelming at first to adjust to, but once I got the hang of it it was so easy! Also, it is very cheap in Barcelona – only $45 for three months which is way cheaper than I expected.

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

I would advise them to take advantage of all the opportunities that the program provides in order to fully immerse in the culture and experience. Another piece of advice is to attend the Morocco trip because it was the most amazing experience ever.

Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?

Barcelona SAE was the right program for me, especially because I was coming into the experience by myself. It was so far out of my comfort zone, but the program made me feel comfortable right from the start. The integration week provided a great opportunity to make friends immediately and feel a sense of community. The activities that we did during the week also made it easier to get to know the city. Throughout the semester, there were continuous activities to keep us engaged with the culture of the city. I also loved the amount of resources that were provided to us. It was very easy to communicate with the coordinators, and whenever I had questions, I was able to easily find the answers in the Barcelona Student Guide.