As tonight is the eve of my first day of official classes at IES Barcelona-Liberal Arts and Business, I figured I should probably give an update about how orientation went.
Our arrival to Barcelona went amazingly well (and we were very lucky, considering over 50 students’ flights were delayed due to the crazy weather up north), and after compiling all of our Spanish skills to tell our cab driver where to go, we made it to our amazing apartment in the Eixample district of Barcelona, a 15 minute walk to the IES Center. We chose to do independent housing, and thus far, we have been very pleased with our decision! We had an hour of orientation a day for our first two days with our Spanish class. I love how small that class is-8 students-because I think we are really going to get something out of it (not to mention that our professor, Pep, is truly great!). So, given that orientation only took up an hour of our time each day, we have all spent a ton of time getting to know the city and being as touristy as we possibly can because, honestly, it’s totally and completely worth it.
Our first Saturday, we used our day passes for the Bus Touristic (free thanks to IES!) and we ended up taking two full routes and seeing a ton of places that we wanted to go back to and spend more time! We got off to take a cable car up to Castell de Montjuic, a beautiful castle that overlooks the Sea. It was our first time with a panoramic view of Barcelona, and even through the fog, it was extraordinary. I strongly recommend doing a Bus Tour in Barcelona, there are so many things that we would not have known about or seen if it weren’t for this day of being ultimately touristy.
I’m wishing I had better Wifi connection so I could upload some pictures of Parc Grüell, because they are stunning. We went to the park on Sunday afternoon and it was beautiful! We all got our obligatory solo-shots in front of the wall, but the architecture out-shined all of us. It’s so colorful and picturesque, and we really enjoyed getting to visit (plus, the Cheetah Girls and America’s Next Top Model were shot there, so our teenage-selves liked it even more!).
We had another week of just Spanish classes (last week), so we spent a lot of time exploring and getting to know our neighborhood, practicing our Spanish, and meeting new people. We finished off our orientation period with a Study Journey with IES to Tarragona. I’m really wishing that I could upload some pictures now, because Tarragona was BEAUTIFUL. It is a city built right on top of Roman ruins-literally, buildings and homes are made with walls and floors from the Coliseum, for example-and it’s on the coast of Spain. We ate a traditional Catalan meal that was one of the most entertaining things that I’ve done, and it was a very unique experience!
Yesterday, we went to the MNAC museum, and it looks like it is located in a palace on top of the city. It housed Catalan art from the Medieval times up through Modern Art. I haven’t been to many museums before, so I’m glad I saw the art, but I think a background in art history would have been extraordinary beneficial for something like this. Today we went to look for some street art, but missed it because they leave early on Sundays. We ended up wandering around Las Ramblas and eventually making our way to the beach, which I have been dying to see!! It was beautiful-and huge–and I ended up getting a little lost (but not in a bad way) on the way back and was exhausted when I finally got home.
My experience here has been absolutely fantastic thus far, and I can’t wait to see what else Europe has in store for me in the next few months! I’m missing my family and friends, but I can’t wait for everyone to get over here! We are going skiing in Andorra this weekend, so I’ll to post more often in the future so I don’t end up writing a book like this time, and I’ll be sure to put in some feedback about my studies soon!