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Studying Abroad in 2021: My First Few Days in Barcelona

January 22, 2021
by CEA CAPA Content Creator

Hello friends! Thanks so much for checking in about how life is going on day 3 of studying abroad in Barcelona

It has been so insanely transforming in just three days, and I am feeling incredibly thrilled to be here and to finally see my dream city. In the last three days I have slept for approximately 15 hours (thank you, jetlag), seen world-renowned sites, met intriguing people from all over the world, relearned how to complete extremely basic tasks, reorganized my entire life, changed my perspectives on the world, been on a date with a Norwegian pilot, toured multiple universities, drank an excessive amount of expresso, wrote letters to people in Spanish, purchased Spanish books, introduced myself to natives in which I cannot properly understand (my Spanish is not good, yet!!), cut my hair six inches, changed my music taste, ran throughout the city at 5 a.m., completely changed my wardrobe and made plans to travel throughout the month of May and potentially the rest of summer. Oh, don’t forget, while taking the metro to my classes that I am a week late for and catching up. To say the least, life is crazy and all over the place – in the most beautiful way possible. I feel so full of joy and truly at peace. I am confident that God has me here for deep presence, cultural enrichment, perspective shifting, new friends and amazing memories.  

First of all, the city of Barcelona is absolutely beautifulThe beaches, parks, global monuments, architectural designs, plazas and people are breath taking. I am sorry for not taking enough photos by the way- I honestly just forget!  

Secondly, I only know one American in the entire continent of Europe. That has been a little bit scary, but I weirdly feel at home with myself, and my pursuit of exploration. As of now, my main community is made through walking up to strangers in my residencia and attempting to speak a few sentences in Spanish! 


The weirdest part is that I feel so safe and comfortable in this place that I only had heard of in my dreams. If I am being brutally honest, I have been way too exhausted to sit down and acknowledge I am here. From the few seconds I have had to sit and be with my thoughts, I have observed a few things.  

1. Even through growing up in completely different environments, cultures, social expectations, continents, pressures and desires, the people I have met are innately similar to one another. Obviously, I have not gotten to know every single person deeply, but from my conversation with a Syrian international security student,  I have observed that we have such similar needs, wants and innate longings for adventure. He just walked past me again, maybe he knew I was writing about him… hahaThe desire to enjoy a nice meal and glass of wine at the beach during sunset is consistent between Santa Cruz, California AND Barcelona, Spain… shocker!  

2. Clearly, my objective circumstances of the past week do not apply to this theme BUT I truly admire the Barcelonan community for enjoying what matters with pure joy and connection. People do not ever eat alone here. Ever! They value social connection and their relationships over work, and it has been really inspiring me to rethink my relationship with productivity and pleasure.  

3. I have grown SO much in patience. I am someone who really desires optimization and making the absolute most out of every opportunity. So when it took me an hour and a half to purchase shampoo, I really had to check myself and realize adjusting to a completely new country’s infrastructure, commerce, and way of life is not going to be easy, nor as quick as I had been used to.  

I am just feeling so in awe that this life exists and that I am blessed to experience this culture so deeply, even if it is crazy and for sure out of my comfort zone. I love all of you so much! I cannot wait to give more updates.. And thanks for reading! 

Learn more about studying abroad.

Originally published on Girl Takes World. Holly Hill is a CEA Spring 2021 student in Barcelona, Spain, and is currently a student at Texas Christian University.

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