Considering this is my first time in Barcelona, I didn’t really know what to expect after signing up to study here for four months. Coming from New Jersey and living right outside of New York City, I grew up in a very fast-paced environment. The first thing I noticed in Barcelona was their laid-back approach to life. Not only does dinner last 6 hours long, but everything is a slow process (except when they drive). They have siesta around 2 in the afternoon until 4 to relax and have a 3-course meal lunch.
My first meal in Barcelona
Another thing I noticed upon moving to Barcelona was the size of everything. Generally, in Spain and Europe, everything is very small. The first day I arrived in Barcelona, I got onto an elevator only to realize my three suitcases wouldn't fit into it. After traveling to Italy for the weekend, I also realized that all of Europe is small in terms of bathrooms, beds, etc.
Meals in Barcelona are a huge part of everyday life. Not only do they eat 3 full meals a day, but they do not start dinner until at least 8 in the evening. At home I am used to eating dinner around 6, so eating later than that was a huge adjustment. A tip I have for those traveling to or studying abroad in Barcelona is not to tip. After you eat a meal and you get your check, you are not expected to tip your waiter or waitress.
The only negative thing I have to say about Barcelona is the issue of pickpocketing. Before traveling here, I knew pickpocketing happened while sightseeing, out at the clubs or bars, or even just walking to class. However, I did not understand the extent of this problem. I recommend, when walking to class, to carry your backpack in front of you or carry a bag that you can hold on the side of your waist to avoid the chance of getting pickpocketed.
Although there have been many changes to my daily life, adapting to Barcelona has been a great learning experience for me.
Courtney King is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Alabama.