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3 Reasons I Could Never Stay in Barcelona Full-Time

Studying abroad in Barcelona is, mentally, a lot harder than it should be. It is in its own little fairy-tale alcove of the world, nestled along one of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, and upon arriving, there is no stopping reality's disappearance as the Barcelona lifestyle takes over. After living in Barcelona for four months with CEA, I know it will be just as hard to live in the city full-time as it was to leave it.

3 Reasons I Could Never Stay in Barcelona Full-Time

1. The Sunshine

With Barcelona getting 2,524 hours of sunshine each year and having an average temperature of 68° F, it can be really hard to concentrate on school or work. When the beach town starts coming out of its winter-coma in March, looking out the window during the day can be really hard. Parks become green again, street fairs start popping up, and the Mediterranean grows warm. Catalans become restless, making people more outgoing and on the lookout for an excuse to leave the office. The bright sunshine easily distracts me from my daily tasks and just makes me want to throw all my work out the window in exchange for beach patios, tapas, and bronzed shoulders.

2. The Food

Living in Barcelona full-time would require eating endless amounts of tapas, jamon iberico, and seafood paella accompanied with many pitchers of sangria. Since it's tough to stop eating Catalan food once you start, this could end badly. It would spoil all other food categories, making it impossible to leave Barcelona without a suitcase of takeout boxes. Living in the city permanently could lead me to becoming a food-connoisseur, making it hard to not walk down the street without spending my entire paycheck at a new restaurant. It could also end much more badly than the Freshman 15. I mean, where else can you find a french-fry stand with 15 salivating topping options?

3. The Culture

If I had to describe Barcelona in one word, I would have to say mind-boggling diverse. I mean, who would want something so awesome?! One second I’ll be walking through one of the most world-renowned modern shopping districts on Passeig de Gracia and -BAM- all of a sudden I’ll be transported back in time hundreds of years in Barrio Gotico. In this exact same walk, I could see a bullfighting ring that was turned into a shopping mall, a street performer rapping in French, a group of men building sandcastles that they are oiling down to light on fire, all the way to the friendly faces at the coffee shop next to my apartment because I’ve been there so many times they (sadly) know my name. All this diversity would make it hard to stay in Barcelona full-time because I would be so enraptured by everything going on around me, I would forget I was in the real world!

While life in Barcelona seems like the shiny new toy, it may be too shiny for me to live there full-time. It would be really hard to remember about things like my job, school, and paying bills all because I would become too absorbed in spectacular scenery, vivacious company, intriguing museums and warm weather. Barcelona is a place where the newness and curiosity will never end. And now, all I want to do is go back. But you definitely shouldn't subject yourself to this beautiful place. Take my word for it!

Ana Gilbert is a CEA alumna (Barcelona Spring '14). She is an Alumni Ambassador and junior at the University of Saint Thomas. 

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