Hounds Away from Home: Barcelona

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Kiara Serret

It’s been a month since I moved out of my apartment at Assumption College and a week since I said see you later to snowy Massachusetts. To think that I am sitting here on the balcony of my new apartment in Barcelona, Spain is still so surreal to me. As a child, I dreamt of traveling the world. The first opportunity that was presented to me was at Assumption College. They partner with American Institute of Foreign Studies in order for students to study and have internships in many different countries around the world. AIFS is the program I used in order to make this dream come true.

On my way to Barcelona, I stayed three days in London, England visiting various recognizable locations including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, London Bridge, Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower.

To me, London resembled New York City: expensive, crowded, cold and way too touristy…definitely not my scene. So on the third day we woke up at 4:15 a.m. to get on a coach bus to London Heathrow Airport. The flight was an hour and a half long, and then we landed in Barcelona, Spain. 

As we were in line to go through customs, many people whispered about their excitement and fears of being abroad for a whole semester. What should we expect? What should we do? Do you know your roommate? Where are you living? But I knew once my passport was stamped, there was no going back. 

Hours later, I found myself in my apartment, in the San Pau district of Barcelona, with four girls whom I’ve never met before. One could feel the anxiety in the air. These girls were to be my roommates for the next four months. Luckily, we were all from the United States; Miranda is from California, Courtney D is from New York, Courtney C is from Illinois and Hannah is from West Virginia. We ate dinner together that night, giving us an opportunity to get to know each other before the busy days that awaited us the rest of the week.

The next morning we had a city tour of Barcelona, where we were able to see the entire city of Barcelona from the top of a mountain, as well as visit the Basílica Sagrada Familia. As we saw the city, it started to sink in more and more that Barcelona was not just another stop on my tour of Europe; it was going to be my city for the next four months. The following day, we traveled to our university for orientation, Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona.

We were introduced to professors, directors and police officers that explained to us many helpful tips for living in Spain and studying at the university for the next four months. As our days were filled with activities coordinated by the program, our evenings were free to explore.

Exploring was the best part of my day. I met so many new people, tried traditional Spanish foods and learned some Catalan (the dialect from Catalonia).

The weekend flew by leading us to today, our first day of class. My anxiety has returned…I am nervous but prepared because I know this experience is something I will cherish forever. I know that a positive perspective on everything I do will benefit me in the long run, so I must grab my bag and get going. The metro is not going to wait for a late Kiara.

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