From the very moment I stepped out of El Prat airport and into the fresh air, I knew Barcelona was a special place. I was in awe watching everything that passed me by outside the cab window while listening to Ed Sheeran's "Barcelona" to set the mood. At the time, this was the only song that I connected with the city. Now, after having spent two months in Barcelona, I have an emotional connection with reggaeton music because it powerfully reminds me of Barcelona. Listening to artists like Bad Bunny and J Balvin at home in New York makes me miss Spain immensely. The two things that I miss the most about Barcelona are my host family and Barcelona denizens' slow pace of life.
Choosing to live with a host family was the best decision I made during my abroad journey. Not once did I feel homesick in Barcelona because I had a support system right off the red line in La Sagrera that became my second family. I looked forward to all five of us eating dinner together at the dining room table at 8pm every night while laughing and catching up. Dinner generally lasted between 1-2 hours, which aligns with the Spainards' slow pace of life. I admire this about the Spanish culture because it places a priority on socializing, juxtaposed with work as Americans' priority. I learned more about the world and myself than I ever could have in a classroom in the States. I gained new genres of music to explore, a language to improve on every day, a more relaxed pace of life, and a family to visit when I return.
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<p>Hey there! My name is Mary Zarba, I am a junior in college, and I am studying abroad in Barcelona with IES Abroad in the Spring of 2020. I study environmental science at a school connected with Syracuse University called SUNY-ESF. Being from Long Island originally, I absolutely love adventuring outdoors especially if I'm near the ocean. I never forget to bring my camera on these adventures. I have a passion for capturing the moment through a lens and transforming ordinary photos and video clips into creative masterpieces.</p>