Pre-Barcelona Feelings

Victoria Ernst headshot
Victoria Ernst
January 7, 2024

Tomorrow I leave for my semester in Barcelona with IES Abroad! I cannot believe my (almost) four-month journey is beginning; it is such a surreal idea.


This isn't my first time in Europe. Last summer, I completed a three-month internship in Germany. It was the time of my life, but I am excited to explore a new part of Europe.

I've heard a lot about Barcelona: its delicious food, beautiful architecture, and, of course, pickpocketing. Other than that, I don't really know what to expect. I have to remember that just because Barcelona is in Europe, it isn't the same as Germany. There will be many cultural differences, though I won't know of them until I get there.


I'm so excited to be back in Europe and meet new people! My favorite thing about Germany was meeting the locals. I am coming to Barcelona with only a couple of people that I know from my school. I go to a small liberal arts college with about 1,800 undergrads, so I know Barcelona will feel huge to me. I hope I can get to know a lot of new people, both American and native.

I am also excited to travel on the weekends. I haven't seen much of Europe outside Germany and Austria, and since Barcelona has a major airport, I have the opportunity to find cheap flights to other areas. I cannot wait to go to Italy and France!

Another thing I'm excited about is the food. My friends studied through IES Abroad last semester. They raved about the food in Barcelona. I am especially looking forward to the bread—something about fresh bread in Europe is just so much better than fresh bread in the United States.

I am also strangely excited about my classes through IES Abroad. I'm taking cool courses in Journalism/Communications and Business, and I think they will complement my studies nicely. 


I am a bit nervous about the language barrier. I don't speak a word of Spanish, but at least I get to learn in my Spanish class!

I'm also worried about meeting people; I know a lot of people travel in groups, and I hope to connect with other students who also came here knowing few people. 

Honestly, I'm also bit worried about getting lost. I have a terrible sense of direction- even with Google Maps. This is not a huge worry of mine, since I often get lost in new places. I always find my way. 


Packing was a bit difficult for me because I am spending 8 months in Europe. If I were just packing for the Barcelona trip, it would have been a lot easier. For a semester in Barcelona, you really only need one checked bag and a carry-on. I packed lots of long-sleeved shirts and layers. I plan to buy a big coat when I arrive in Barcelona; one of my friends who traveled there last semester said clothing is very affordable. 

Final Thoughts

I'm so excited to get on the plane and start my journey finally!

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Victoria Ernst

Hi, my name is Vic. I'm a junior at Washington and Lee University, and I am a strategic communication and German double major and entrepreneurship minor. I interned in Germany last summer and hope to live abroad after graduation!

2024 Spring
Home University:
Washington and Lee University
German Language
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