Blog 1

My name is Nyla Hart and I recently finished my sophomore year at the university.  I’m from Detroit, MI and I’ll be a part of the Sports and Society: Barcelona trip.  I’ve travelled internationally once before with my family and we visited Accra, Ghana.  I’ve been very nervous the past few days as my trip gets closer and closer.  My flight leaves tomorrow at 10 AM.  One of the things that I am worried about is being African American while abroad.  I know myself and I know that I can become easily stressed about things.  I’ve talked to my mom about how I’ve been feeling and she’s reassured me many times and has been trying to make me feel comfortable before my trip.

I’m worried about studying abroad while being black because I understand the dynamics of race in other countries.  In the U.S., I have a general knowledge about how other people feel about black people.  Also, I realize that some mask the way they truly feel.  I have no idea how this will be in Barcelona because I do not know how often they see black people on a day to day basis.  So, this might be something foreign to them, which is why it worries me.

Overall, I think this trip will be one to remember because I will be forced to make new friends and learn more about myself.  I definitely believe it will be a learning experience for me involving the culture of Barcelona.  I’ll also be staying in a homestay, which is something I’m very excited about.  I bought my host mom and her daughters gifts that are closely related to Detroit: two necklaces that show where Detroit is in Michigan and a seatbelt wallet because Detroit is known as the Motor City.  I can’t wait to meet them and see how the program will go for me.


Blog 2

I’m more than halfway through my study abroad trip now.  I’ve been preparing for the final exam which will be in a few days.  In my last blog, I talked about the concerns that I had before coming on this trip.  My main concern was about being black while abroad.  I’ve noticed that the people in Barcelona tend to stare at me, I’m assuming it is because they are not used to seeing people that look like me.  I’ve learned that Spain has recently become integrated within the past 15-20 years, so it makes sense as to why it is still shocking to see someone of my race. 

With the class that I am taking about sports in the city, I’ve been able to learn a lot about the history of Spain and what motivated the Spanish Civil War.  This class acted as a history class for me and I was able to learn it from a perspective that wasn’t American.  This is valuable to me because I believe that you can never understand the whole story until you have heard all sides of it.  Aside from this, I’ve made some amazing friends that I’ll be sure to keep in contact with.  We went to a soccer game when we visited Madrid and it was stunning.  I never thought that I would be so interested in the game.  Soccer is something that I’ll now want to keep up with when I get back home because it was filled with nonstop action.

I’ve truly enjoyed my time here, but I am ready to go back home.  I miss my family and my friends and this experience has definitely been unique.  This was something else I was worried about when coming on the trip.  The first few days were hard for me because of the time difference and not really knowing anyone in my cohort.  I’m so used to travelling with my family, so having to learn how to navigate through certain situations has really been a growing opportunity for me and I am grateful. 


Blog 3

I recently returned home from Barcelona and I feel bittersweet about the experience.  I missed my family and friends, so I was relieved to be back in my comfort zone, but Barcelona also provided me with new
opportunities to explore and learn more about myself.  I was forced to be more independent.  This was something that I had to get used to,
but I believe that I will keep that with me now that I’m back home. 

I thought that there would be more of an adjustment period for me coming back home, but I became acclimated easily.  I picked up everything right where I left off.  One thing that I’ll miss about Spain are the wonderful friends that I made.  I knew some of the people on the trip already, but I got to know so many more people.  It won’t be the same being back home because we’ll all start to hang out with our normal friend groups, but I’m sure that we’ll find time to meet up throughout the next school year.

While being home, I also realized how much I enjoyed my homestay.  My host mother was extremely nice and was one of the reasons that I liked my trip so much.  Since being home, I sent her a post card so that she knows just how appreciative I am for allowing me to stay in her home for those three weeks.  This was an unforgettable experience and I’ll always cherish the time that I spent in Barcelona.