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Europe

Kunal Explores Living in Barcelona

Park Guell

Park Guell

Living in a foreign country for an extended period of time has certainly been an eye-opening experience. Barcelona is considered to be one of the most popular places to study abroad. I know many students are attracted to this city for its vibrant nightlife, but by being able to balance the nightlife with everything my program has to offer has really given me the opportunity to get more out of my experience so far.

Kunal Mehta

In Barcelona, I live in a dorm, where I am constantly interacting with Spanish students. What makes this dorm life so unique is that the Spanish students that live in the building with me all attend different universities. They apply to different dorms throughout the city based on their high school GPA. On top of that, students also select their majors based on their high school GPA, due to limited amounts of seats in universities, which I found very interesting. My dorm also has set meal times in the cafeteria, which was tough to adjust to at first, considering the Spanish eat meals much later than Americans. For example, the majority of people here eat dinner around 9 or 9:30.

In terms of academics, my program offers a variety of classes at the IES study center, which is located at the heart of the city – Plaza Catalunya. On top of that, the program offers classes at local universities, one of them being LaSalle Business School, where I am taking more finance related courses. This university happens to have lots of exchanges with various schools around the globe; and as a result, I have met students in my classes from countries such as Norway and Russia, which is quite exciting. However, I certainly do miss the 10 minute walks to class at GW. Here I have to take a train or bus every day to get to school, and that is extremely common for all students here.

In the past month or so, I have seen many of Barcelona’s popular sites, and have visited Seville and Budapest. In Barcelona, Park Guell and Mount Tibidabo are a must see. Getting everywhere is extremely easy with public transportation. Buses and trains tend to run every 5-7 minutes all day long. Mount Tibidabo is the highest point in Barcelona, and actually a little out of the city, yet still a public bus went all the way to the top of the mountain.

Plaza Catalunya

Plaza Catalunya

Lastly, probably the most important thing I have learnt so far is that a little bit of Spanish can go a long way. Locals love it when you speak in Spanish with them, and it makes your life a whole lot easier when you actually able to ask locals any questions if you are ever lost.

Even after one month, I understand why everyone said studying abroad is the best decision they made in college. It has certainly gone far above my expectations. In the next few weeks I will be attending a flamenco show, skiing in Andorra and visiting Morocco. Hopefully the next 2.5 months will be even better then the first.

Adios!

Kunal Mehta is a GWSB Junior studying Finance and Event Management.  He is currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain on the IES Abroad – Liberal Arts and Business in Barcelona program.  

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