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Barcelona: the Best Four Months

It’s going to tough impossible to summarize this entire semester in a blog, but here we go! I’ll start with some advice, and if you listen, there’s a 100% chance that you’ll have an incredible semester. My advice for you:
  1. Eat at Bo de B: Did I put a sandwich shop as my number one advice? Yup. You most likely will hear this from any student who studies in Barcelona, when you’re looking for a filling meal that doesn’t break the bank, go here. Best sandwiches around.   Find It! Eat it!
  2. Get Random Roommates: If you decide to do apartment style living, it’s okay to not know anyone beforehand and it may end up being a more rewarding experience.
  3. Take Advantage of CEA trips & Activities: CEA offers some awesome excursions and other experiences that are included, so go on as many as you can!
  4. Try New Foods: Paella, tapas, squid, fish, whatever it is, just try it! Eating local is also a huge part of studying abroad, so get out of those tourist areas with the food that’s not even close to authentic!
  5. Learn to Cook: Oh, I still can’t cook very well at all, but save yourself some money and go to a grocery store rather than eating out for every meal! (If you’re looking for a mean breakfast sandwich, I make the best there is.)
  6. Resist the Starbucks Urge: If you’re a coffee person, go to a new coffee place and try coffee from different places! Also, the cafes are a great place to do homework.
  7. Learn Spanish: You don’t have to be an expert, but just try Spanish and try to get better as the semester goes on!
  8. Go to a Soccer Game: Barcelona is the best soccer team in the world (no bias) and CEA even includes a trip to a game. Go!
  9. Explore Las Ramblas: Definitely the big tourist street of Barcelona, but here you’ll find Barcelona’s famous market La Boqueria and get to do some serious people watching. Eat on one of the side streets.
  10. Rent Paddleboats in Parc de La Ciutadella: The Park is very impressive and the paddleboats are a cheap way to spend an hour, and if my four guy roommates and I did it, you can too!
  11. Go to Montserrat: This mountain range an hour outside of Barcelona was one of the best days of the semester. CEA has a day trip here too. Go!  Montserrat = Unreal
  12. If There’s a Holiday, go: Many neighborhoods have festivals for their certain neighborhood, and if you really want to interact with locals go explore on these weekends! Sitges for the holiday Carnival is also a must experience.    Carnival. Costumes highly recommended
  13. Plan Trips Ahead of Time: Save yourself some time and money by booking flights and accommodations early on.
  14. Travel Smart: If you fly out of or into Paris, make sure you know which specific airport you are flying. There are three…and it’s quite easy to end up going to the wrong one and missing your flight…not saying this happened to us or anything…   Lots of time in airports!
  15.  Explore Spain: We went to six countries, but also had the time to spent weekends in Barcelona and other parts of Spain which were easily some of the best weekends.  Mallorca, Spain. An entire island that was picture perfect
  16.  Get the Jamón: Sorry, vegetarians, this won’t apply to you, but wow am I going to miss the ham when I get back home. It’s the best.
  17.  Go to Class! Just like classes back at your home college, going to class is very important!
  18. Pack Light: Get good at folding, packing, and realizing that you don’t need a ton of clothes everywhere you go. If you find yourself wearing the same shirts each week, it’s not going to be a big deal at all.
  19. Go to the Montjuic Light Show: Friday and Saturday nights at Montjuic. Definitely worth seeing.    Montjuic Light Show
  20. Keep Notes: Every day you’ll find yourself doing something that you will want to remember, so write it down!
  21. Study Abroad for an Entire Semester in Barcelona: You’ll want to be here for as long as you can so what are you waiting for?
Not for long, Barcelona. It's been real. A huge part of studying abroad is the people you meet and the friendships you make. We went into a situation where we had no idea what to expect and ended up having the times of our lives together. Those ten p.m. group dinners that lasted well past midnight, and those early morning flights after only a few hours asleep left us going through nearly everything together. To me, going abroad is just as much about the people you meet, as it is the places you see. I know when I get home it’s going to be hard not to always talk about going abroad (sorry to friends and family because I’m going talk your ear off). 30 years down the road I know this semester is going to be a huge part of my life that I look back on. Studying abroad will be the greatest decision you ever make, and I know I’ll be coming back to Barcelona one day. It’s been real Europe!

Kevin Mooney is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain. He is currently a junior at the University of South Carolina.  
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