Bon dia and hola from Barcelona!
I’m writing this after completing my first week of classes at Esade, which has made me realise how quickly the past two months have gone! I left New Zealand almost two months ago and spent the first month trekking around Europe – an adventure in itself! But after visiting 11 countries in 3 weeks and sharing some stuffy hostel rooms with complete strangers worldwide, I was glad to arrive at my own room in Barcelona (and having air conditioning in my apartment – despite the fact we are well into September now, temperatures are still hitting 30 degrees! This European heatwave sure is relentless).
I’m living in an apartment with 3 other internationals – one girl from the Netherlands who is also studying law at Esade with me, one guy from Portugal and one from the US. They’re a fantastic bunch of people, and we all get on well!
A week before our law classes started at Esade, we were given the option to take a week-long Spanish intensive course – and intense it was! It was 5 hours of learning Spanish a day, which was a bit of a shock to the system. But it forced me to remember the Spanish I learnt a few years ago and helped me make some new friends – win-win! I’ve been attempting to put some of those Spanish skills to use at local restaurants and cafes. However, the primary language here is Catalàn (more similar to French than Spanish!), making it a little harder to blend in! Luckily, most of the locals I’ve dealt with have been very patient, especially those in the rock climbing gyms I’ve been to (who have a little more time on their hands!). My main tip is to preserve – it can be really easy to default back into English, knowing most people will understand you anyway (especially with a few mimes!). But speaking English all the time won’t improve your Spanish!
Our actual classes began last week. We also had a short introductory session on Monday, followed by a bus tour of Barcelona, which was also a great way to start chatting with a few other students. I’m taking a mixture of undergrad and master’s courses (all in English!), but only the undergraduate courses have started. This means it’s been a pretty cruizy start to the semester! I’ve also tagged along to a few Erasmus events – Erasmus is the name of the network of European Universities where students can travel around Europe for their exchanges. Last weekend, we got to go hiking up Montserrat, a beautiful mountain an hour away from Barcelona – it was a fantastic day trip (despite how foggy it was at the top!).
And now I’m almost at my word limit, so that’s all from me! I’ll just end with a shameless plug – I’m running a series on my podcast (@GreatMorningPodcast) where I’ve been talking about my tips for travelling solo and studying abroad, so if you’re keen to learn more, chuck us a follow on insta and wherever you listen to your podcasts 😊