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Just the Beginning

February 16, 2017
by Riley Doerge
Living in Barcelona for the past three weeks has been an absolutely amazing experience. The city itself is full of so much history; half of the buildings themselves are as old if not older than the entire United States, which is crazy to think about. The food, sunsets, and night life have been amazing as well. Spain's rich culture has yet to disappoint.
 Sagrada Familia is two blocks from my apartment

But before I experienced any of this, I had to hop on a plane and fly 5,500 miles from Seattle, Washington, to a city and a school where I knew no one. I'll admit it was a little nerve wracking at first, especially because before studying abroad, I had never been outside the U.S. However, upon my arrival, I was greeted by a CEA representative and 3 other study abroad students: Steve, Sarah, & Kat. We all hopped in a taxi, and our driver took us to our apartments. My boy Danny who works at the front desk at CEA was at our apartment waiting to let me in and show me around. Afterwards, he took me over to another apartment to meet a couple of other students that I'd later go out to dinner with.

Since then, I've met so many people here that I am struggling to remember names; students from different locations all across the U.S. like Michigan, New York, Jersey, South Carolina, etc. Everyone here is thrown into a whirlwind of new experiences and are down to meet new people. Camaraderie over the struggles of getting adjusted allows you to get used to the area and your friends so much faster.

 Me snapping a pic of Chris, Roy (Hotlanta), Mike (Jersey Mike) clowning outside Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

The first ten days were pretty empty academically, only having 2 orientations and 2 classes, so we filled them with activities like the one above, exploring the area seeing places such as the National Art Museum of Catalunya, Sangrada Familia, Arc de Triomf, Montserrat, Park Guell, and of course experiencing the fiestas after we were done trekking through the city.

Over time, I noticed some definite cultural differences and how much we Americans stand out like sore thumbs in Europe. First off, the people here are super fashionable. Americans, or at least I am, not on their level of "Euro Swag" as I've been calling it. Also, I'm convinced people don't sleep here, the discotecas don't start to fill up until nearly 2am. And if we leave at 5am, they are still packed. The people here have been more alike me than different. For me, the adjustment to living in Spain has been really easy, and I love Barcelona more than I expected.

 Sarah making sure to get extra primped for that perfect photo on top of Montserrat.

I was very busy getting adjusted and exploring the city, so from now on I promise to post more often. Below I will throw in a few photos from my adventures, but until my next adventure, stay tuned as I explore Europe!
 Park Guell
 Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
 Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

Riley D. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain. He is currently a Junior studying Entrepreneurship at Washington State University.

Riley Doerge is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain in Barcelona, Spain, and is currently studying at Washington State University.
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