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Adiós America, Hola Barcelona!

To get from Des Moines, Iowa to Barcelona, Spain is no simple task. Three flights, two long layovers, and one cab ride later, I finally made it to my new home away from home. I had no idea what to expect upon my arrival to study abroad in Barcelona, as I had never been to Spain before. It has only been a few weeks, but this beautiful city is everything I expected and more.
 Walking to Class

Pre-departure Jitters

The two biggest worries I had coming into this experience were the language barrier and finding food I like. I can be pretty picky sometimes… The picture below is of the local market where I buy most of my groceries. The second I got here, I knew finding delicious food would not be an issue. I worried about that for no reason! If there is one thing I know I’ll miss when I leave Barcelona, it’s the amazing, fresh food. The local market is completely different from any grocery store in America. The food here is fresh, healthy, and delicious. My roommates and I go to the market around twice a week to stock up on fresh fruits, veggies, meat, and more.

 Our local market is full of delicious fresh fruits and veggies!

The second main worry I had was the language barrier. My Spanish background consists of four years of high school Spanish, and absolutely no prior knowledge of Catalan (one of the native languages in Barcelona). It has definitely been an adjustment, but even knowing simple phrases in Spanish will get you far. Also, a lot of natives speak English very well. I am taking a Catalan language course at CEA and I am excited to see how much I will be able to learn over the next three and a half months.

A Few of My Favorite Things

 My roommates and I (left to right) Hannah, Kristi, and Luci went on a hike to see a view of the city and watch the sunset.
 This is a photo of my breakfast on the terrace of my apartment.
 This is the Sagrada Família, a beautiful church I pass by every day.

The three pictures above are of some of my favorite parts of Barcelona; my amazing roommates, eating lunch on my apartment terrace, and the Sagrada Família. Adjusting to life in Barcelona has gone smoothly thanks to the support of my roommates, Hannah, Luci, and Kristi. We have had so much fun exploring the city and Spanish culture. They encourage me to try new foods (which I am sometimes stubborn about) and have been a great antidote for homesickness.

I am fortunate enough to walk by the Sagrada Família every day on my way to class. The Sagrada Família is a famous Catholic church in Barcelona designed by a native Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. It has been under construction for over 120 years and isn’t scheduled to be done for several more. Walking by this beautiful monument never gets old and it honestly takes my breath away every time I pass. The vast beauty of this church is so difficult to capture in just an image. It is a million times more impressive in person, so if you haven’t seen it, you MUST come to Barcelona and catch a glimpse yourself.

If these first few weeks are any indication of what my time here in Barcelona will be like, I am in for the experience of a lifetime!

Julia D. is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a junior studying finance and marketing at Iowa State University.

Julia Diehl is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Photographer in Barcelona, Spain, and is currently studying at Iowa State University.
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