Hola from Barcelona! I’m Lucy and I am on exchange in Barcelona, Spain, for 6 months. I arrived at the beginning of January and boy does time fly.
I won’t lie, it is pretty daunting moving to the other side of the world not understanding a word of the local language or knowing anyone. However, I was lucky enough to find a room in a shared apartment in the Gothic Quarter 2 days after my arrival with 3 flat mates from Spain and France.
I spent my first week before Uni exploring the city and was immediately impressed by the amazing architecture (thanks Gaudi) that envelops the city and the Spanish culture that is so different to life in Australia, so it definitely takes time to adjust.
The city is filled with an abundance of cute tapas restaurants, bars serving sangria and cava, and winding alleys that you can get lost in for hours. Whilst the streets in the Gothic Quarter, El Borne and El Raval are lovely, beware of pickpockets and robbers. Even though I was warned a hundred times and was aware of the high pickpocketing rate, I was still unlucky and got robbed one month into exchange (but I promise it’s still a safe city).
After a long week of ‘studying’ and going to classes, weekend/day trips around Barcelona and Europe are the best way to fit in some travelling during the semester. Recently I visited Montserrat mountain, about 1 hour 30 min from Barcelona. I went with some friends who I met during the orientation week and we hiked to the top. The views were definitely worth the sore legs!
Barcelona is central and reasonably cheap to fly from so take advantage of your time in Europe, grab at any opportunity and travel around, even if it’s just a day trip within the Catalunya region. Valencia has also been a highlight so far with some impressive buildings and delicious Paella.
Before arriving in Spain, I had hopes that I would learn some Spanish whilst I was here. Although I have learnt a few phrases, I was surprised that a lot of people speak English and will reply in English even if you attempt to talk to them in Spanish. Catalan is also widely spoken here, but I haven’t found the need to learn any words as yet. The language barrier has only been an issue a few times, but it helps to have a friend that can speak Spanish to avoid any confusion.
So far so good in Barcelona. Even though I miss home and it’s already been a rollercoaster of a journey, I know that exchange is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the most of.
Bachelor of Business
Universitat Pompeu Fabra