Now that the IES Abroad Spanish class is over, I don’t think I’ll be waking up early again for the rest of my study abroad trip. I’m almost sad about it, since there are quite a few sights in Barcelona that are exclusive to early risers, but my circadian rhythm simply won’t allow me to get out of bed before eleven unless my GPA is at stake. I’ll miss walking to class in the morning, though: I’ll miss seeing squadrons of suit-wearing businessmen blaze past me on their motorcycles whole commuting to work. I’ll miss seeing the sun in the east cast a flower-shaped projection of the old church’s stain glass façade onto the Rambla de Cataluña. I’ll miss being the first one to smell the sweet scent of freshly baked coca de crema or to taste the salt in the air as the truck’s return to the restaurants with newly caught fish. I’ll miss accidently passing the avenue that I’m supposed to turn right on because I got too caught up in trying to trying to figure out the meanings Catalan words like “forn,” “caixa,” “vuit,” and “rebaixes” that appear in all of store fronts. I’ll miss walking into the IES Abroad building and getting off on the wrong floor because I keep forgetting that the entresuelo is technically not the same as the first floor.
I’ll miss going to class, too. Laura greeted us every day with a warm smile, neatly sorting the day’s class handouts. She taught us everything from colloquial Spanish idioms to writing formal letters in Spanish, and then she taught us more. I’ll miss trying to keep up with the heritage speakers during class discussions. I couldn’t form sentences or conjugate verbs as fast as they could, but I learned a lot from listening to them and even managed to convince them in Spanish that a mirror would be more useful that a book of matches if we were to be stranded on a deserted island. I’ll miss the class excursions to the different barrios of Barcelona. A history lesson is more poignant when it’s taught next to an ancient roman aqueduct and a culture lesson is more fun when the corresponding homework involves looking going to a storehouse for parade costumes and a garden for orphaned cats. A Spanish class is more gratifying when, every day, you can go home and practice the grammar you just learned with your host mom. I’ll miss those moments most.
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<p>I am a student at Northwestern University student studying Electrical Engineering, Spanish, and Japanese. This summer, I will be experiencing the great city of Barcelona, Spain and reporting back on all my wonderful findings right here. I hope to inspire a few people to try adventuring out of there comfort zone, too.</p>