For the next 4 months, I am going to be living in Barcelona, Spain. I’m in an international studies program at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona for the fall semester. I leave August 29, and I will return on December 21. I am studying through Academic Programs International. API is not affiliated with UCSD. Their headquarters are in Texas, but they host students from all across the US in countries all over the world.
Before I go any further, I should say a few words about blogging. Let’s face it, I tend to judge bloggers pretty harshly. Bloggers are where unpublished authors go to die, right? But now that I’m moving half way around the world, blogging will actually be a great way to stay in contact without spending countless hours skyping. So don’t worry, I’m not trying to write my own Eat, Pray, Love planning to one day end up on the NY Best Seller List with Hollywood’s latest sweetheart playing a lost college student looking for herself in Spain.
Anyways…as I’m sitting here surrounded by half packed luggage, laundry, and Target bags, I am still in shock that I am actually leaving tomorrow. My decision to study abroad in Spain is neither impulsive nor spontaneous. I distinctly remember talking about my desire to study abroad during my freshman year of high school. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to be challenged. But really, I probably just wanted to sound like I had something cool to say.
The road to get here has not exactly been easy. Six months ago, I could not even imagine this trip taking place. I hated UCSD. I was less than thrilled with San Diego. I was melancholy at best. The over-achieving perfectionist in me could not handle it. Still, Barcelona remained on my mind. I was intrigued by it, drawn to it.
Six months later, and after making some pretty significant changes, I can confidently say that I’m not running away from my life in the states. Rather, I am running into adventure, culture, beauty, art. I’ve been trying to figure out why I chose Barcelona. There’s the history, the art, the architecture, the beaches, the gorgeous Spanish man playing guitar while I drink sangria at some cool locals only bar I happen to find.
While I definitely look forward to enjoying all of that, I am most drawn to the Spanish lifestyle; siestas, dinner at 10:00, walking slowly and appreciating the surrounding beauty. What I study in the classroom will only be a small piece of what I learn. It’s a lifestyle I know nothing about, but one that is so incredibly fascinating.
So here it goes. Tomorrow at 9:30, I take off from LAX. After 19 lovely hours of travel, I arrive in Barcelona at 12:20 Monday afternoon. Maybe I should get back to packing…