Looking back, I don't think I met any of my prior expectations before my trip to Barcelona - I exceeded all of them. I only asked for one thing... For myself to submerge myself into the culture and explore new places within Europe. I never asked to make incredible friends and meet amazing people, I never asked to develop a great relationship with my host parents, and I never asked to fall in love completely with a city. These past six weeks have flown by and I really don't know where the time went. I got the chance to visit so many new cities and countries but my favorite city from all my adventures is still Barcelona. My biggest regret was not having more time to stay in Barcelona but honestly looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.
I reminded myself that I was in Europe for a limited amount of time and really pushed myself past my boundaries. My homestay parents really had the biggest impact on my experience, I'd say because they really made it feel like a second home. They always were there whenever my roommates and I ever needed anything and improved our Spanish drastically because they don't know English at all. All the Spanish locals we've met were always so kind and nice and we quickly grew accustomed to their culture and lifestyle. I'm so thankful for how well my experience went in Barcelona that I recommend it highly to just study abroad anywhere with this program. Sure, it's scary and very different from where we all are from but I feel that it is an important thing for students especially of our age to do. It sheds a light on a different perspective of living and gives you a chance to see how the world is from another country's standpoint. I grew more appreciative and more informed about the world after this summer.
To me, I have never felt so comfortable in a city before and I can see myself coming back to Barcelona one day - potentially even live there. I remember stepping into my homestay, not completely sure that I made the right decision but now I can say I did. I wish I decided to study abroad sooner in my college career so that I could study abroad again. I think I became a lot more independent through this program and learned things about myself that I wouldn't have if I didn't take this opportunity to live in Barcelona for the summer. I will forever cherish the memories and experiences that I have learned this summer and keep it close to my heart for many years to come. Barcelona, thank you so much for giving me everything I ever asked for and being such a unique, lively city. Adios y hasta luego, Espana!
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<p>I am a junior studying at the University of Illinois and am majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology, in hopes of attending dental school one day. During my free time, I enjoy painting, listening to music, and running. I love to travel and I'm especially looking forward to studying abroad this summer in Barcelona. I also love to take pictures because it captures a great experience that you can cherish for a lifetime.</p>