Advice from a “so called” Alumni
I have been dreading to write this blog, its hard to believe that my trip abroad is near its final few days.. I have been in a complete worldwind of emotions this past week, consumed by papers, presentations, and projects…I didnt have much time to grasp the fact that I will be back in America soon!
Instead of boring you all with a sad senopsis as to why I dont want to leave Barcelona, I thought it would be most beneficial to share some advice to all my fellow peers getting ready to study abroad this spring,,,or to anyone who is thinking about going to another country for an extended period of time. Im no expert or anything when it comes to living in a new country, but there are some really cool things that I have learned engaging in a cross cultural environment.
1.). Here are a few things that I suggest you do before arriving to your host country
- Check the typical climate of your host country: the best thing that I ever did, for instance I learned that Barcelona was not always hot and there could be both rainy and cold weather. This prompted me to bring coat, while some of my friends had to rush around during the cold weather to try to buy a coat!
- Its okay to bring a few nice outfits: I searched the internet a lot when trying to narrow the things to bring, and I continuously came across the main point to ¨ bring lots of blacks and simple clothes that you can mix and match¨ this is very helpful especially for someone who plan on travelling a lot, but I mostly stayed in my host country and I continuosly regretted not bringing that one nice blouse, or dress to wear out with friends.
- Bring comfortable shoes and maybe two pairs: this is mainly for someone going to a country where you will be walking around a lot and utilizing public transportation. In Barcelona, and other parts of spain the cobble stone sidewalks are your worst enemy when it comes to shoes; though I brought gym shoes, they got kind of warn out from all of the walking and I had to buy new ones!
2.) Finances: If you´re anything like me, being able to save an extra buck is the best thing ever. With that being said, I would like to share some Money saving tips
- I know someone will completely disagree with me when I make this statement, but you do not have to travel every weekend. I found this to be the most beneficial decision I have ever made, this is not to say that taking advatange of the cheap plane tickets to visit other countries are bad (I went to Paris), but if you have the intentions of dispersing your Money this was extremely helpful…the benefits of not leaving my host country everyweekend like other people I knew, forced me to get to know people around my neighborhood as well in my residence. I now have close friends from Barcelona, Venezuela, Columbia, Mexico, and other coutnries. I never had a dull weekend in Barcelona!!
• The first month, avoid eating out, also take that time to really search and find markets and or stores with the best prices that suit you. They say that the first month is your most expensive month, I 100% agree, that first month you are essentially ignorant of all the best places to go to. Also you may be attracted to all of the touristy things which are always the most expensive sites and restaurants.
3.)Get to know your host country: You might as well, being that it will be your new home for the next few months!
- Don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone, try talking to some locals. I cant stress this enough, once you have a few friends who are normal inhabitants in your host country, they are able to give you the best advice about living in that country.
- Find a café, market, or park to continuosly visit throughout your time in that country. This is another way to meet locals as well as getting connected with the community around you!
4.) American Bubble: Try staying away from being consumed by the ¨American bubble.¨ Though it is good to have friends from the states, I would advise to avoid ONLY hanging with them. It has been truly amazing to have friends from other parts of the world, this allowed me to gain other perspectives about life .
5.) Lastly, Enjoy every minute, because time goes by fast!!
- You don’t have to necessarily count down the days until you leave, but being aware that it is a temporary stay, can help you make the most of every moment.
In all, I hope this advice will help someone. Good luck traveling to all of those getting ready to embark on an incredible experience!!
ps. Im jealous