Growing up near Chicago, a city that truly has a bit of everything, I knew that when I studied abroad I wanted to live in another city that has a vast array of things to experience. Studying abroad in Barcelona was certainly right for me. From the food, nightlife, and outdoor activities, it was the perfect spot for an unbelievable 4-month run and CEA was the perfect organization to take it all in with. I cannot say enough about how different every day truly could be and how the city itself made you want to capitalize on every moment you had available.
Sports have always been a huge part of my life, from when I was young to my time at Indiana University. Part of what excited me about Barcelona was the vibrant sports culture. I was able to take part in a Soccer Game at Camp Nou and watch an FC Barcelona Game with about 100,000 other people--easily something I will remember for the rest of my life. There were also tons of places to go and get my fix of American sports like March Madness.
Another aspect that made Barcelona so special was the scenery and food. My favorite times abroad were relaxing on the beach with some new friends I had made, or visiting some of my favorite tapas restaurants. Everything I experienced was so new and worthwhile.
Barcelona is a great location within Europe, and it's incredibly easy to travel anywhere you would like to go. In my time abroad, I was able to visit Amsterdam, Valencia, Madrid, Berlin, Dublin, Rome, Florence, Amalfi Coast, as well as Ibiza. But, I loved Barcelona so much that I did not travel as much as my roommates. There are so many more places readily available to visit. CEA is supportive of your travels; for example, I didn't have Friday classes, which allows students to travel more frequently and enjoy a longer stay.
It’s important to also note CEA’s role in my semester abroad. While some of my other friends had great experiences, they didn’t come home with the same feeling my abroad friends and I did while studying with CEA. CEA understands that being abroad is about the experiences you get while living in the city. It’s both school and culture combined that really allow the students to get the full journey. CEA encourages you to take advantage of your experience. They focus on school work and experiencing things first-hand, by offering a number of service trips and programs like tapas cooking workshops, a trip to Camp Nou to see FC Barcelona and many more.
My trip to Barcelona remains something I talk about on a daily basis and a stretch of time that I will always remember. Full endorsement here to go with CEA to Barcelona!
Jake B. is a CEA alumni from the Spring 2016 semester in Barcelona, Spain. He studies Business Management at Indiana University.
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