Sundays are especially wonderful in Barcelona because many shops close and the Gothic neighborhood is teeming with dancing, pop up markets, and music. As my week is typically filled with educational requirements or tourism checklists and my Fridays and Saturdays are spent enjoying the nightlife of Spain, I relish in the slow pace of Sunday.
In the United States, my time would be spent usually cramming facts in for a quiz or checking off tasks on a massive to do list for the week of classes. My GPS personal dot would almost always be found in the Herman B. Wells library on IU’s campus. For me, all of the assignments seemed to creep up on me all week and then just avalanche onto my already stressed mind.
In Spain, my life is much different. Sure, I have some assignments to think about for the week to come but it’s nothing as all-consuming as my time at IU. In Barcelona, nights of the week are spent meeting for study breaks at local cafés; this makes an effective combination of experiencing the food culture and finishing work. Students in Barcelona are more inclined to commit to meeting to do homework at a local spot such as Marti for unreal Tomato Focaccia or Café Francesco for one of the flakiest and fluffiest croissants that you have ever tasted. It’s quite an interesting dynamic. When Sunday creeps up into the schedule, my friends and I have time to unwind and walk around the different Spanish neighborhoods. Stall after stall line up on the Barceloneta stretch that dead ends into the beach. I am usually always pushing to make the venture towards the beach because I personally enjoy the salty air whipping my hair and popping in for a big burger at Maka Maka. The last time I went there I had a burger topped with buffalo mozzarella, fried eggplant, and peppers and it was a taste bud sensation! Additionally, we tried the banana chocolate milkshakes that were equally exquisite.
I have spent many a times on the Barceloneta beach, due to its essential mix of sand, sun, and amazing food.
Classes this semester have been challenging but also manageable. The hardest part of studying for finals is that you have to exit the tough mindset that you are on vacation and buckle down for achieving your grade goal. The end of the semester is always the hardest because its very similar to the grind of a typical college campus: assignments pile up, inevitable goodbyes to close (or new, in study abroad’s case) friends, and making sure you have done everything you wanted to do in that particular city before returning home.
I have missed many aspects of the U.S. but I will treasure these times in Barcelona for a lifetime. I am not finished here but this city has already changed me, perspectively, for the better. I hope to convince anyone who will listen to go to Barcelona!