I feel like I did a lot of research before leaving home to study abroad, but as the weeks went on, I noticed some things I wish I had known beforehand. There were of course lots of little things, but I feel these two were the biggest things I wish I knew beforehand.
One: The Weather
The first thing that I noticed was my lack of awareness of the weather conditions in Barcelona. I thought that looking at the highs and lows of each month that I would be here would be enough to give me a good idea of what kind of clothes I should pack. But I was wrong. Something I often forget to consider is humidity. It is not too bad here but it is definitely a bit higher than my hometown. I think I was kind of expecting summer weather the whole time I was here. But as the months cooled I realized it would have been nice to have a slightly thicker jacket and more than one pair of solid jeans. So my advice is to pay just a little bit more attention to the weather over your entire stay.
The thing I think I wish I knew above all else, is a bit about the local holidays. There were a lot. I was lucky enough to have a few different people asking if I was attending a few of them, but if they had not asked in advance, I would have missed out on some of the coolest things to do in Barcelona. If you are coming to Barcelona, during the fall semester in particular, you have the opportunity to attend so many cool festivals and events celebrating the local holidays. And many of them are free! If you have a day off, look into why and see if there are any events put on by the city that would allow you to get a glimpse into the local traditions. In Barcelona, there were parades and free concerts around the city during one of their biggest holidays, La Mercè, as well as many museums that you could attend for free. These holidays often create long weekends that many students would travel during, but I feel like you miss a huge part of the local culture if you miss out on these amazing traditions.
Also along these lines, look into holidays like Halloween. If you are studying abroad in the fall and your host country celebrates Halloween, you may regret not bringing a small accessory that you already own in the States that will make creating a costume easier. I know most everyone I talked with wished they brought a costume so they wouldn’t need to buy one.
There is so much research that needs to be done before anyone studies abroad that some things are bound to slip through the cracks. It may be a good idea to make a list of all the topics that you need to research before leaving as you come across them and then just go down the list. But don't get too overwhelmed either. Even if you miss a few things, you learn from it and just need to move on. You will have your own adventure and that will include your own mishaps. Enjoy it.
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I am a silly, go with the flow kind of person. I love adventure and family. Travel and home, the simple and the extravagant. I am Kaitlyn Morales. From a small town in California, I have taken every chance I can to travel.