5 Things About Spain That I Miss The Most

There were many extraordinary things about Barcelona, Spain that I will continue to miss for quite a while. Paella is the first part of Spain that I will miss. It is a traditional Spanish dish that consists of rice and seafood and is served steaming hot. Normally you have to share it with another person because it comes in such a huge portion. If you don’t like seafood, they will serve it to you with any type of meat that you please. By the beach there were dozens of paella restaurants so you could eat your seafood and rice while looking out at the ocean- this was my favorite part!

Gunnar Knetchel is the second part about Spain that I will miss. He was my photography teacher at the University of Barcelona and is a professional photographer himself. He has photographed many covers of magazines for AirCanada and his work is truly remarkable. A part from being an awesome photographer he was an even better teacher. He made our assignments enjoyable and encouraged us to explore the city to take pictures for our projects.  I am so glad that I studied in Spain because I got to learn from a real photographer who also gave me feedback on the photos I took. I may never get an awesome opportunity like that again!

Isabella Cosentino is the third part about Spain that I was sad to part with. She was my International Business teacher at the University of Barcelona. She is one of the owners of a company called Cosentino which specializes in selling countertops for kitchens. Her company is known worldwide and even has stores in America. She is a highly successful business woman and I was honored to be able to hear her story and learn from her as well. She taught us all of the important factors of doing business internationally as well as how to do business with people from different cultures and countries.

The fact that you are not expected to tip waiters at restaurants is another thing I will miss about Spain. The people who work at restaurants there get paid more than what we call minimum wage so they do not expect people eating at their restaurants to tip. This was helpful to me because I saved a lot of money! Over in the United States I usually tip the people serving me at restaurants about 20% and all of those tips start to add up eventually!

Being so close to the beach is the last thing I will miss most about living in Barcelona, Spain. I lived in an apartment near Plaza Lesseps and that was not a far distance from the beach at all. My room mates and I would get home from school most days, drop our backpacks off, and take the metro to the beach. It would only take us about 25 minutes and we were there. Here in the United States I live very far from the beach so it was nice to be near a beach while I was studying abroad.

Now that I am back here in the United States I will try to keep in touch with my professors and maybe take a road trip to the nearest beach more often. Also, I am going to teach myself how to make paella because I miss eating it so much! Although I miss all of these five things so much, I know that I will make it back to Spain one day in the near future!

Returning Home

I returned home from studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain two days ago and it has been quite a process adjusting back to my normal way of life. When I first arrived Barcelona I had no idea what to expect from the people and the city. It surprised me how pretty the buildings in the city were because they were very old and had a lot of character. Everywhere I looked reminded me of what a historic district of a city would look like back in the states, but of course everything there was much older there than it is here. When I first arrived to the apartment that I would be staying at for the next six weeks I met my four room mates and we wandered around our new home to explore. It didn’t take us long though, because families in Spain are used to having much smaller living spaces. We had four tiny bedrooms, a kitchen the size of a small walk in closet, a medium sized living space, and two small bathrooms.

Apart from the size of our apartment, I was also stunned at the fact that no one uses dryers in Spain. Outside the windows of our apartment were clothing lines and clips to hang clothes outside to dry on. The washers are also much smaller there so you can not wash a lot of clothes at once. This made it take much longer to wash all of your clothes because you would have to do smaller loads and hang your clothes outside to dry and that could take up to two days if the weather was not clear.

When I first got home in Louisville I put a load of clothes in the washer, walked through my kitchen, and then my bedroom and felt like I had so much space. Being in Spain made me appreciate the size of everything over here in the United States because everything here is much bigger. People in Spain spend most of the time outside of their house working or enjoying the outdoors, so the places they live in are as small as possible because it makes more sense to them and is probably more cost efficient.

The most challenging aspect of coming back to life in the United States is leaving all of the friends I made while abroad. We are all from different parts of the country so I will most likely not see them for a while. We all had a very close knit bond because we mostly hung out with each other throughout the trip. Another challenging part of coming home was that the food here is much different. I ate a healthy American meal for dinner the night I got home and after it I was still extremely hungry. I attribute this to the fact that over in Spain I received large portions and ate every last bite of the food I could because it was expensive. So when I got back here I had to adjust back to my usual healthy way of eating. Overall, it is nice to be home but I am so glad that I spent my summer abroad in Barcelona, Spain!