Molly O'Brien, Alumni Insider
1. What are your favorite places to visit?
There are so many amazing places I would recommend to students studying abroad in Barcelona. Besides visiting the attractions Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, wandering along Las Ramblas, and walking the boardwalk on Barceloneta, there are other lesser known places to visit like touring the beautiful Hospital Sant Pau and hiking up to the Bunkers Del Carmel for gorgeous views of the city. Walk and turn off Las Ramblas into the Gothic Quarter and get lost appreciating the incredible architecture of the streets. If you want to day trip out of the city, take the train to Montserrat for to view the ornate monastery and incredible panoramic views of Catalunya. Trek up to Mount Tibidabo to visit the amusement park and pretend to be a kid again on the rainbow-colored Ferris wheel. If you want some sun, take the L2 metro train up to Badalona and visit the beach and boardwalk there. If you’re into coffee like me, there are dozens of amazing coffee shops to try out. For relaxing there are many parks and plazas to sit and read a book and enjoy people watching. You will never run out of things to do in this incredible city.
2. What would you say to convince a friend to study abroad, if you had 60 seconds?
Studying abroad teaches you lessons that you can't learn any other way. It will make you more creative in thinking of solutions to problems in an unfamiliar place when you don’t necessarily understand the culture or the language completely, and this will expand your mind. You will grow as a person, in a way that no other experience can make you grow. You’re going to meet many new people from around the world in your classes and in your excursions, who are going to teach you about their culture as well. You’ll discover new delicious foods to eat (I have memorized how to make the Spanish tortilla and fully plan on enjoying it regularly when I get back to the USA) and new drinks depending on what region you are in, and they’ll all be amazing. You will try new activities that you might not have known that you liked before going abroad, such as skiing in a colder country or surfing in a warmer country. Living abroad is also a great opportunity to practice your language skills. If you desire to become fluent in a different language, studying abroad in the country which speaks that language is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself and really get the opportunity to practice the language firsthand. A future benefit of studying abroad is the perspective that being in a different country gives you when you’re seeking a professional job in the future. Potential employers will recognize the value of the problem solving skills you acquired abroad, and how your decision to live in another place with different ways of life represent your true willingness to never stop learning. Studying abroad is an experience you can’t have after university, and an opportunity that you need to take advantage of while you can!