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Nyah Pierson

Acting & Psychology

University of Michigan
Studied Abroad at SIS
Nyah is an Acting & Psychology major from the University of Michigan and studied abroad at SIS in the Summer of 2019.

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 loved all the people of that I got to meet, and the professors that I had for both of my classes were amazing. Everyone was really chill and nice. I learned so many things about the world and myself that I hope to continue with when I return home.

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

Colorful & Tasteful

Explain why you chose those words.

I chose those two words because I cannot think about Barcelona without all the colors around the city. Every landmark is colorful, big, and outlandish. The food is vibrant and colorful while also having a simplicity to it. Even the air, for better or worse, always had a taste to it. The salt was in the air by the water or randomly catching a woof of the garbage on the street. Both adjectives fit my experience oh so well.

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

I did not find a favorite place to eat, per se, during my trip. I fell in love with patatas bravas after our cooking class and I am really going to miss it, as well as the seafood paella.

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

My favorite trip was the Tarragona excursion because I think I was more open to living in the moment on this trip. I went out with friends the first night, we saw the Roman architecture of the old city, and we ate at a buffet filled with Spanish foods and I loved all of the options!

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 host family, which was great since my host mom was used to hosting students and had her house set up for us in this way. She had an adult son, his wife, and their daughter living with her but the space never felt crowded. It was a pretty big apartment that all of us, including my two other roommates. Even with only one of my roommates speaking some Spanish, our host mom made it a really great experience and never made us feel bad for not being fluent in Spanish or Catalan. In fact, she and her daughter-in-law tried to teach us some basic things to pick up for conversations. I would definitely recommend a host family to future students just because it forces you to really be immersed in the culture of Spain and Catalonia.

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

I would recommend just wondering down a street and be on the look out for any of the street art. That became a huge part of my experience – finding new places and learning where things were in town.

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

I would go to some stores in the Gracia neighborhood, go to the beach at Barceloneta, get a smoothie at a street vendor, and then eat paella & patatas bravas for dinner.

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 don’t think I recognized how big Spain is as a country, geographically. I also did not recognize where Barcelona falls on the social platform for Spain.

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

Do not go into the program with expectations or preconceived notions! The staff will be there for anything you might need and just focus on living your best life while you’re in Barcelona. Go check out the small cafe that the girl in class talked about, eat a new food that you would not try back home, or take a class that you might not have been able to take at your home institution. The sky is the limit for what you can do in Barcelona and the type of experience you create is up to you.

Why was Barcelona SAE the right program for you?

I needed the ability to take multiple classes over the term and have it count towards my degree, while also having enough time to explore a new place that I would not have ordinarily been exposed to.