It takes Amanda some Jamaican music to feel at home in Barcelona. Amanda Rickman is from Jamaica, she studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Driven by an idea of stepping outside her comfort zone, Amanda went studying abroad in Barcelona by herself.
“My friends and I decided that we all need to study abroad, but we wanted to go to either some very different spots or during different semesters as it’s just better to go alone and to experience a different culture on your own,” she said.
Even though Amanda has never been to Europe before, she did not regret her decision. Amanda got to travel on her own, making a list of places she would want to go back to, she got to practice her Spanish, speaking to locals every day, and, most importantly, she made friends. Talking about the easiness of making friends outside IES Abroad, Amanda shared a story: “I met this girl, who was a solo traveler from California, in a shoe shop. I asked her if those shoes I was trying on looked too big on me, so we ended up grabbing dinner and going out later.”
Being surrounded by Americans does not make Amanda feel at home. When she thinks of home, she thinks about Jamaica. A Jamaican song that once played in Amanda’s headphones on her way home, made Amanda realize that she wasn’t just a tourist in Barcelona, she was living there. Dat a Di Ting by Aidonia perfectly matched with the rhythm and architecture of Barcelona, in Amanda’s opinion: “It felt right, I accepted Barcelona as if it was my home.”
Amanda has those little moments of realization that she actually lives in Barcelona every day. She walks to school, she knows her surroundings, she observes the architecture and talks people around her and listens to Jamaican music: that’s her recipe of staying happy in a city she’s never been before, feeling like she fits in and not missing her friends from home.
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