I have been in Barcelona for three weeks and it has been a life changing experience. My experience has been unbelievable, and I am absolutely in love with Barcelona. The wonderful food, amazing people, and all encompassing beauty that is radiates through the city has exceeded any expectation that I had.
Getting off the plane in Barcelona after 20 hours of travel I found myself in a taxi headed to my homestay. Through sleep deprivation and jet lag I some how managed to find my homestay. Although not truly cognizant of what was happening the next thing I knew I was unpacking my stuff in my new home. I would like to praise IES Abroad in their selection of homestays and roommates. Within 24 hours of meeting my roommates, we were all in awe of how similar our personalities are and how easily we get along. This was a HUGE relief because I knew no one coming into this program. The fact that I am making friends so easily makes me believe that I made the right decision in applying and joining this program. My roommates are proof that this program attracts like minded people who have the same passion, values, and work ethic that I do.
Living with a host family has also been a great experience. My host mother has two children who are about the same age as me, who join us for dinner most nights. It has been comforting to be a part of a family and to watch and experience the family dynamics. Watching my host mom interact with her kids gives me a feeling of the home that I left behind, with the same warmth of a family that will accept newcomers (even if their Spanish is rough).
Living with a host family has given me an inside peek into the life of a local and is a great way to improve your Spanish. My host siblings have given my roommates and I advice on fun places to go. With their advice we can get the night life experience of a local and not fall into tourist traps. At dinner my roommates and I attempt to carry out conversations with our host mom. Some are better than others, but she patiently listens and corrects us when needed. She is always there to help us learn and pushes us to try to speak as much Spanish as we can. It is imperative when learning a new language to try and be corrected rather than not try at all. Your Spanish won’t improve until you practice it. You will make mistakes, you will feel stupid, but that means you are learning. Living in Barcelona is about personal, academic, and professional growth and none of these things will improve without mistakes and, at times, confusion.
Both of my internships have been just as amazing as the rest of my trip. Two days a week I work at Akua, a local Montessori school. Montessori schools founding principals value each students’ talents and abilities. Having attended a Montessori school when I as younger, it has been amazing to step back in time and reminisce on the good memories from my school and how it has shaped my love or learning. Stepping into this school is like stepping into paradise. When I walked up the stairs to the school and automatically feel love and warmth and love amongst the teachers and administrators. It was also very impactful that the majority of school administrators and teachers are women. In a world filled with inequality and disparity among genders it is inspiring to see women in a role of such great influence. These women are amazing and the more time I spend with them the more respect and appreciation I have for them. They are in a position where they can impact children’s lives and help them grow into great, responsible, and inspired adults. I feel grateful to be a part of a process that is so special and compassionate.
My other internship is at the Hospital Vall d'Hebron in the psychiatric department. In this internship I am helping with a research project, MyHealth, which analyzes the physical and mental health of immigrants and migrants and in order to make changes in health care systems to support an at risk population. I have only been in this position for a short amount of time, but I have already learned so much and have gained a better understand and empathy for the millions of people around the world who have been displaced. I cannot wait to see what I can learn through both of these experiences and how I can make an impact on the people I work with and how they can impact my life, and help me to learn about myself and the world around me.
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<p>I'm a rising Senior at North Carolina State University (Raleigh) studying Psychology with a Spanish Minor. When not in the library, I can be found in the gym, on a beach, or hanging in some tree reading. I start most of my sentences with "so I was listening to a podcast and..." and believe podcasts are the perfect way to learn without the stress of being in a classroom or reading a book. I love to travel and be out of my comfort zone, which explains why you're reading about my experiences in Barcelona.</p>