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Maria Peden

International Affairs

University of Colorado - Boulder
Studied Abroad at SIS
Maria is an International Affairs major from CU Boulder, and studied abroad at SIS in Summer 2021.

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?

My favorite thing about my study abroad trip was the independence the program helped me experience. Living with a homestay was fantastic because I was able to stay out all day or night and come home and enjoy delicious meals with a family. It was a good balance between comfortability and independence and it definitely got me more ready for living on my own in a city I don’t know anything about. The excursions also helped with my confidence as we were to navigate around Tarragona during our free time and explore on our own- a great way to create a personal connection with places!

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

My favorite day trip was the one we took to Tarragona. Tarragona holds an endless amount of sunshine, the most beautiful coastline beach, and ancient ruins from Roman times which we were blessed enough to experience that day. We took a tour around the ruins and got to see the chariot stadium and the great amphitheater and ended up at my favorite place, the beach. The beach was absolutely incredible, it was blue, clear, and the waves were just high enough to have some fun with.

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 with a homestay during my time in Barcelona, and it was amazing. Our host mom was the funniest, sweetest, and most understanding woman I know (especially when dealing with a couple of foreign teenage girls). Never were we once concerned about our relationship with her as we ended up “clicking” immediately. If you are wanting to improve Spanish and actively practice every day, a homestay is by far the best way to do that- I cannot tell you how much I’ve improved just by these couple of weeks with her. Not to mention, this housing option reminds me the most of home and she made us comfortable and excited to live in Barcelona.

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 spend it walking off Las Ramblas and ending up in Born. Although touristy locations, they deserve the popularity as there is never a shortage of beautiful things you can see. I am a big fan of exploring the many alleyways full of art galleries, churro cafes, and mojito labs and a perfect day would be navigating my way around all of them!

Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?

Barcelona SAE was the right program for me because it got me connected to not only other peers, friends from around the world, and faculty members, but also to Barcelona itself. They showed us around the Barcelona neighborhoods such as Barceloneta and Poble Sec and took us on adventures to Costa Brava and Tarragona. These little trips taught us about the life and beauty around Barcelona and Spain in general and I would recommend this to any student who feels they need something deeper than just a study abroad program.