Two Days Left Until I Board the Plane to Barcelona

Audrey Bailey
May 20, 2022

When my Spring semester classes ended, I felt like I had all the time in the world to prepare for my summer abroad. The past couple of weeks have flown by, and now my flight to Barcelona is in only two days. Thankfully, I started the planning and packing process as soon as possible so that I was not left with a million tasks the night before I leave. Planning travel details early on, brushing up on my Spanish, and learning about my internship are just a few of the things I’ve done to get prepared for my trip to Barcelona. I could not be more excited for this summer!

After my mom and I watched flight prices for several weeks, we finally chose the most practical one for me. It felt great to check that off my list since booking an international flight is no easy task. Along with choosing my flight, I have communicated with IES Abroad about the technicalities of arriving in Barcelona. I am realizing how important it is to understand where I will go when I land at the airport, so I have been rereading my program’s pre-departure information and emailing my internship program advisor. I’ve even marked on Google Maps the location of the IES Abroad center, my apartment, and my internship office. This way, I can easily get to where I need to go in the first couple of days without frantically searching for addresses. A big part of planning travel details has been calculating my program costs and talking with my family to coordinate how we plan to pay for everything. At first, the financial part of planning my trip felt so stressful that I didn’t want to talk about it. After talking to my parents and planning my personal financial contribution, paying for this program feels much more doable.

Aside from planning my flight and travel details, I have been practicing my Spanish to feel more prepared to communicate with people in Barcelona. Even though I have been taking Spanish classes for many years, I have never been immersed in a Spanish-speaking culture where I need to communicate exclusively in Spanish. I have been doing vocabulary, grammar, and conjugation exercises on to refresh my memory and learn things I haven’t learned in school. It has been really helpful to practice Castilian Spanish because I primarily learned Latin American Spanish in high school and college. I have definitely been feeling nervous about being able to communicate with people in Barcelona, so using an easy online tool to relearn the basics has helped me feel more confident. I also changed the language on my laptop to Spanish, which has been surprisingly challenging!

The most exciting part about preparing for my program has been learning about my internship and talking to people from Barcelona. At my college, I knew two students and a professor from Barcelona. To get an idea of what to expect, I chatted with them about cultural differences between the U.S. and Spain. They have told me details about the city that I don’t think I would have learned from internet searches. I have also been getting ready for my internship in Barcelona, now that I have been placed with a company. Perusing the company’s website and learning about the projects I will be working on helps me prepare for this professional experience. Any uneasiness that I had about my internship disappeared when I saw the amazing office space on Google Maps, spoke to the IES Abroad internship team in Barcelona, and communicated via email with my internship supervisor. While I know roughly what my first day will look like, I will still have a lot to learn about my internship when I arrive. My advice for anyone starting this process is to ask any questions you have about your internship before you leave so that you arrive at your internship feeling confident.

In the last few days before arriving in Barcelona, I am making sure that I have all of my important documents, packing up, and spending time with my family. I'm trying not to overpack (like I usually do) so that I can bring home some souvenirs. To be extra thorough, I have been rereading emails from IES Abroad and my internship supervisor to make sure I am well prepared for my first days. Despite still feeling nervous, I can’t wait to immerse myself in a new culture, live in a city, and meet the other students in my program.

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Audrey Bailey

<p>I am a recent graduate from Lake Forest College with a bachelor's in Environmental Studies and Spanish. I am passionate about environmental justice and sustainable living, so I am thrilled to be interning at REVOLVE Mediterraneo in Barcelona this summer. During college, I had fun being involved in the environmental club and Campus Sustainability Committee. In my free time, I love being outdoors, crocheting, and cooking new recipes.</p>

2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home University:
Lake Forest College
Monterey, CA
Environmental Studies
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