Adjusting to Life Abroad

Kara Beemer
June 3, 2018

I’ve just completed my second full week in Spain and if the rest of my time here is anything like it, I am in for a wild ride!

My trip got off to a dramatic start. My first flights (Kansas City to Toronto then Toronto to Frankfurt) went smoothly until I received an email as I was in the security line at the Frankfurt, Germany airport that said, “We apologize that your flight to Barcelona has been Cancelled.” At first, I didn’t believe it, so I went through the line as normal, but then the woman in charge of scanning boarding passes confirmed my fears: my flight had been cancelled and I needed to find the Lufthansa Airlines desk to figure out my next steps. After trekking through the third largest airport in Europe, I finally got a boarding pass for the next outgoing flight to Barcelona which would only leave one hour later than my original flight. As I waited at that gate, I discovered that I was only placed on a waitlist for a spot on that flight and I was the 30th hopeful passenger. As the departing time approached, I grew less and less confident that I would make it to Barcelona that day. Finally, the flight attendant announced that boarding was complete and the people on the waitlist could follow her to a special area to receive hotel and next-day flight accommodations. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally got a flight for that next morning that would go through Brussels and arrive in Barcelona in the early afternoon. I was thankful to be able to check into a hotel and get some sleep and hopefully be in Barcelona the next day. Luckily that is what happened, and my flights went smoothly after that!

I have a few tips for travelers that made my life a little easier during my flight cancellation.

1. Bring a change of clothes and a toothbrush. You will not regret this!

2. Thank airport staff, especially the ones whose job is to help out those with missed or cancelled flights. They deal with so many frustrated people and deserve appreciation!

3. Contact your family often during your travels, but only let yourself cry once. Anything beyond that would be pathetic, right?

4. Take a moment to breathe and relax. You will get to your destination eventually!

When I got into Barcelona I went straight to the IES Abroad Center to check in since I missed orientation due to my scheduling issues. I got my keys and finally headed to my apartment! That is when the jetlag hit. After unpacking I took a much-needed siesta, which is luckily a popular tradition in Spain that I have upheld many times. It took a few days to feel somewhat normal here. The biggest adjustments have been learning how to cook in a modest European apartment and training my body to function on European time.

Restaurants – or, at least good restaurants – are pretty pricey here in Barcelona, so it isn’t wise to eat out for every meal. Luckily, there are plenty of fresh supermarkets within a few blocks of my apartment, which makes eating good, fresh foods easy! That is until you try to navigate European kitchen appliances. They are smaller and way more confusing to work than American appliances, so they take some getting used to. But now that I have used them several times it has gotten much easier!

Spanish time is unlike anything I have ever experienced in the States. I have class at the IES Abroad Center from 10:00 am to 1:45 pm, which gives me time to grab a quick breakfast at my apartment or a coffee shop before heading to class. Once class is over, it’s time for lunch, which is usually salad or tapas near school or at home. If I don’t run errands or go to the beach afterward, it’s siesta time! Once I wake up, I will work on my homework or write in my journal until around 9pm, when my roommates and I will cook dinner together or go out for tapas and wine.

Above all of these things, my time in Barcelona so far has been full of great food, beautiful sights, laughs and inside jokes, and learning new Spanish phrases. I am so in love with this city and am looking forward to my next month spent here!

Kara Beemer

<p>I am from Kansas City, Missouri and attend the University of Missouri in Columbia! I am a Human Development major with a Spanish minor and am hoping to attend Nursing school after graduation. I am in a sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, where I have gained awesome leadership experience and met the most amazing people! Just a few fun facts about me: I LOVE concerts and have seen over 125 bands/artists; if given the choice, I would choose the beach over the mountains; and my favorite food is mashed potatoes!</p>

2018 Summer 1, 2018 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Missouri - Columbia
Kansas City, MO
Human Development
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