Natalia’s BCN Experience
What was your favorite place to eat in Barcelona? Favorite food?
Panchito in the Sant Gervasi neighborhood was my favorite place to eat. It’s a Mexican food spot that my roommate and I would go to with great prices, very kind and generous owners, and away from the busy touristy areas.
What was your favorite tour, day trip, or cultural activity? Why?
My favorite tour was of the El Raval barrio because the tour guide gave us so much more historical and cultural information about the neighborhood that shed light to the injustices many locals face there and the amazing facts from a medical point of view with the old medical school there! Since learning from the tour and learning about the barrio in my classes, it became my favorite neighborhood in Barcelona.
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?
Personally I loved the homestay option and wouldn’t change my choice if I applied again. As someone who is very family-oriented I needed a support system over there and that’s exactly what I felt with the host family and their relatives that my roommate and I met. They taught us so much about the academics, laws, languages, foods, and cultural events abroad and asked us about the differences we noticed as well. They always made sure we were safe and comfortable in our new environment too. We still keep in touch to this day and I know I have a family to visit anytime! I’d recommend this option to any student who wants to step out their comfort zone, is really interested in learning Spanish and possibly Catalan, or just wanting to know how to live like a local.
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 learned how easy it was to move around without needing to travel by plane 24/7! Whether you want to go to Sevilla, Madrid, France, or other surrounding Autonomous Communities you can simply take trains and metros in less than a couple of hours! Then on top of that, depending on when you buy your ticket you can save so much money to then use on hostels with friends.
What is one piece of advice that you have for future students coming to Barcelona?
Make sure to actually spend time learning how to get around your new city! Yes, it is exciting to be so close to Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, etc. but if you are constantly moving around and don’t stop to appreciate the unique experience you get to have living in Barcelona you’re going to regret how much you rushed through in such little time. It’s cool to say you visited 10 countries in 4 months, but think about how much cooler it is to live like a local and be able to show your family and friends everything you learned in Spain in such a short time!