Study abroad experiences can be tricky. One must have an open mind and attitude going into it. If not, then the experience could be your worst nightmare and you will not make the full of it. That’s where Active Learning comes into the picture.
The reality behind studying in Barcelona was quite clear to me. I did not know or understand the language and did not know much about the culture, norms or people. It was quite scary to be honest. But, reading a couple of tourist guide books, talking to friends who have been to Spain before and contacting onsite staff beforehand made the move to Barcelona easier for sure. This in my understanding is a part of Active Learning. It means taking things into your own hand and doing something to overcome the problem or situation you are in.
During my time here in Barcelona, I learned a lot about Catalan culture. I tasted some of the best Spanish food, viewed some really cool fashion, took part in many cultural activities—like museum visits with classes, field trips outside the classroom and also experienced some of the festivals that the locals celebrate here. Again being hands on and diving straight into the culture. It’s definitely been a jam-packed month full of travel, learning new things, meeting new people and overall creating some great connections and developing some undying friendships. This would not be possible if I was not open to doing the things I did and open myself to the people I met.
Through active learning I definitely gained a lot of knowledge. Museum visits taught me a lot of the history of Spanish culture and why and how it is what it is today. Walking around the city for class assignments and projects helped me see what Barcelona really is and how the people that live and work here actually function. Also, talking to teachers in class about the experiences that we have on a daily basis—like things and questions about food, grocery stores, tourist attractions—and linking them to what the course offered also really taught me a great deal.
Personally, I have gained a wealth of knowledge while being here in Cataluña. I have picked up some basic Spanish and learned a number of the norms of how things and people operate here. Going back home, I will take all of this with me. This was my last semester of college and hence going into the job industry, the travel experience, cultural exposure and everything else that goes with the package I will use to my benefit.
Overall I would like to raise a glass of Spanish wine to Barcelona and would like to give a shout out to all the folks in my Melon District (dorm) family. Made a ton of relations and friends for life!
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