I am just wrapping up my third week in Barcelona and it has set an extremely high standard for any city I live in the future. Since I have been here, I have visited multiple museums, watched the sunset on the beach, eaten some of the best seafood and gelato, seen multiple historic monuments, and traveled to two cities. The opportunities are overwhelmingly endless.
While there is so much to do here, it only took me about a week to get situated and develop a consistent routine to balance school, health, friends, and travel. I am enrolled in 5 classes, two of which I am taking at an outside university. A typical day of mine looks like this:
8:30 am- Wake up, make breakfast, pack some snacks
9:30 am- Leave for my class at the outside university, I am a 5 minute walk from a metro station and usually stop at a café for a coffee or juice on the way and spend 25 minutes on the metro (the fresh squeezed orange juice here is amazing!)
10:15-11:45 am- Marketing class
11:45 am- Take the Metro to IES Abroad for Spanish class
12:30-1:30 pm- Spanish class
1:30-2:50 pm- Break, I either go back to my apartment for lunch or meet up with friends at a café. There are a few cafés by IES Abroad that I love
2:50-3:30 pm- I take the metro back to the outside university
3:30-5:00 pm- Marketing class
5:30 pm- Go for a run
8:00 pm- Make dinner with my roommate
10:00 pm- Meet up with friends
The outside university I am attending is a little farther away so I have to metro, but other than that I try to walk as much as possible. IES Abroad is only a 25 minute walk which is good exercise and also a great way to see things and get a good sense of direction. I try to take a different route every time to find new restaurants, cafes and parks. On one of my runs, I learned I live extremely close to the Arc de Triomf and a beautiful park.
I use my breaks in between class to work on homework, plan trips, and call my family. IES Abroad has an area with tables that is perfect for doing work. I end class a little earlier on other days and I am able to go to a museum, the beach or a park. My roommate and I have made it our goal to do one site each week on these free days because there is so much to see.
Developing a consistent routine was important for me in order to keep up with school and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With so much going on, it is easy to get caught up and loose sight of why you came abroad. I am usually not a planer but it definitely helps to make a schedule, make time for yourself, and take this experience day by day!