A Much Needed Change of Pace

Ever since starting college, I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I had so many questions. Where? When? With what program? How long? Thanks to the help of my friends and advisor, it became any easy decision. CEA is one of two programs offered for students at Iowa State to study in Barcelona. My friend, Luci, already knew she wanted to study abroad through CEA in Barcelona because she is working on a Spanish minor. After talking with more friends and family, I found out a sorority sister of mine had done the exact same program a few years back. She raved about CEA, the included excursions, great housing, the classes, and more. I was sold!

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Barcelona

This is the famous bench at Park Guell in Barcelona. This is one of the few parts of Barcelona I knew about before coming here. It was amazing to see it in person!

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Barcelona

The Arc de Triomf is one of my favorite places in Barcelona.

I had been to Europe once before, but it was only a two-week trip. The biggest reservation I had coming into this experience was the time away from home. Here I am now, almost two months in, and I can say that time truly flies by. The weeks pass in the blink of an eye, and I am so busy with school, traveling, and making memories that I don’t even have time to miss home. It helps having a few familiar faces here with me in Barcelona. My good friends from Iowa State, Hannah and Luci, are here with me. We also have friends studying all over Europe and we have made plans to meet up on weekend trips around Europe.

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Barcelona

During my first week in Barcelona, my friends and I hiked up to see this beautiful view of the entire city. This night is when I knew I made the right decision. I realized the true beauty that Barcelona has to offer.

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Barcelona

Working out isn’t so bad when it involves running along the Barcelona beach.

Being abroad has allowed me to learn so much about myself and to grow as a person. I am typically a very analytical person who always needs a set plan. Immersing myself in the Spanish culture has shown me that I can be more relaxed and go with the flow. I have learned that if I spend every second worrying about planning my days and weekend trips, then I miss the little moments in between. Sometimes it’s better to not have a plan and see what happens. Some of my favorite times abroad have been spur of the moment decisions. On my second night in Barcelona, my roommates and I decided to go to an FC Barcelona game just three hours before the match started. We bought our tickets, hopped on the metro, and had an amazing experience.

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Barcelona

This quote roughly translates to “You make my life turn colorful”. I saw this on the side of a building along the beach in Barcelona.

It’s going to be tough to head back to the US, because I have really come to appreciate the laid-back Spanish lifestyle, last minute weekend trips, and all the new friends I have made through CEA.

Julia D. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Marketing & Finance at Iowa State University.

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