Martine Daley

Sociology

Portland State University
Studied Abroad at BIC (now SIS)
Martine is from Portland State University, and studied abroad at Barcelona International College (BIC) during the Spring of 2013.

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 graduated in fall of 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Barcelona made me be more independent and do things without my friends and family. I made really good friends while in Barcelona and still keep in touch with 6 from my specific program. Barcelona made me want to travel and learn more about the culture of the countries I visited the political and social aspects of the country. Learning about Barcelona and Catalunya was one of the most fascinating parts of my experience. I averaged about 8-12 miles on foot just walking around the city and looking at all of the different neighborhoods.

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

Unforgettable and will be in my dreams forever.

Explain why you chose those words.

Because I constantly think about it and look at pictures from my experience. I also keep in touch with so many people I lived with and had class with. I seriously have a dream about being in Barcelona at least once a week. I miss Barcelona and my time there like an old friend moving away that you are not sure if you will see again. Nothing can ever compare to my experience. I had a routine, a great apartment and two wonderful roommates that I am still close with. The best part was just walking and exploring all over. I did not care where I ended up, I just kept walking and looking. Every day was an adventure. I also had my 21st birthday there. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.

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

Conesa! I ate there the most. Jamón york and cafe con leches if I was at a cafe. I ate produce like it was going out of style because it was so cheap and fresh. But luckily one of my roommates loved to cook, so we ate dinner at home almost every night. That was pretty rad, to cook and eat like a family.

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

So many. I LOVED the walking tours. They were so informative and fun. I loved the cooking classes. The first day hike and siesta lunch at Can Martin was amazing. Seeing Besalú and going to the Dali museum was insane because I had dreamed of going there some day when I was younger and finally did. The bomb shelters that our group got to see from the Spanish Civil war was amazing too. To be honest, everything we did was great, but just not enough time!

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

Walk. I found my happy place in a square in Gracía. I walked every day, all over, wherever and didn’t come back home until my feet were sore. Just walk. There is an adventure around every corner. If I didn’t walk, I wouldn’t have seen as much as I did. Also, just grab a random bus and ride it, get off somewhere that looks interesting and get back on another bus. It is truly a wonderful feeling to be somewhere where you don’t know anyone or where anything is. Just a have a fun, easy going travel buddy.

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

I would want to be back in the apartment I was living in, with my two roommates, and we would just walk. I can’t pinpoint exactly what I would do, but I would definitely eat at Conesa again!

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 loved learning about the civil war and the political and social rift between Catalonia and Madrid. The Catalan culture was really interesting to learn about and experience. I was least expecting that not everyone is fluent in Castilian but they spoke Catalan more. That was difficult when you are used to learning Mexican Spanish.

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

Come with an open mind. Do not expect to find places like you have at home. You’ll get home eventually, but take a break. Just live in what you are surrounded by, take it in and go on every adventure that comes along. Stay out of Starbucks, Burger King and other American chains. Just walk. See the city and try to talk to whoever wants to chat and tell you about the area or the city. Meeting people that lived there was so much fun because they show you places you can’t find in a tourist book.

Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?

Because it was the perfect amount of school and fun for the short amount of time. I wish I was there longer, and had traveled more, but I wouldn’t change the experience I had.