May 10, 2018

Living on the nicer side of Barcelona can be a blessing and a struggle all at once. This thursday morning, we were all up at the usual 8:30 am to have enough time to make it to class by 10 am all the way in the city center. Once we were ready, we grabbed our croissant our host mom left us everyday and rushed out the door. We walked down the block to the metro stop and took the metro all the way down to Plaza Catalunya. Because it was so early, it usually was not that busy with tourists, so it was quicker to navigate through people and get to class, which was another four blocks away from the city center. When we make it to the school building, we sit outside planning what we would do after class while waiting for our professor to get there.

Once in class, our professor, Xavier, who was such an interesting professor, tells us we were going to go on a scavenger hunt that day to the beach. He gave us a document with ten pictures of how Barcelona used to look and tells us we have to find the present day location and take a picture. At first, we were all a bit confused on what it was for but it really showed the drastic change that happened in Barcelona once the Olympics were held there. He walked us all the way to the beach and then left us to find the images ourselves. After walking the entire beach, my friends and I went to lunch on the coast and had some traditional paella before heading out to find our other friends from the other class.

We all met up at the school and decided we were going to get on the cable car up to Montejuic. After traveling by bus and metro for about an hour, we finally made it to the cable car and we were all so nervous to get on as this was a new experience for all of us. Once on, all of our breaths were taken away. The view was amazing overlooking the whole city. As we got higher up, it was only more beautiful. Once at the top, we went into the castle on the hill and got to see the inside of it and get even higher up and get a city view of Barcelona during the day time, which was breathtaking. This whole experience just gave me opportunities I would have never thought I would have had if it was not for this program. My friends and I, all grew up in lower income Latinx neighborhoods, so being on this trip was a whole new experience for us and we were always talking about how we never imagined to have been there a couple of years back. Being able to see the things we saw and experience all of feelings when we tried new things are truly unexplainable once in a lifetime experiences.

May 11, 2018

We woke up bright and early to catch our 7:30 am train to Madrid with the rest of the class. We had only been in Barcelona for about a week at this point, so the metro system was still getting the best out of us. All three of my roommates and I left extra early just to see how to get to the train station and which specific metro we had to take. After waiting for the wrong train for about half an hour, I realized we had to take a complete different route and met with the rest of the group with only 5 minutes until our train would leave. After two and a half hours, we made it to Madrid. We walked about a mile to get to our hotel in the hot sun after being so tired from the early trip. When we finally made it to the hotel, we were asked to wait outside until you and your roommate for the weekend were called.

They gave us about an hour before we would head over to a traditional Spanish lunch for some tapas. Once we all came down to the hotel lobby, we began walking over to the restaurant. My friends and I, all Latinx students, were behind speaking with our program mentor, Carlota. She was knew we were Latinx based on our accents and asked us where we were all from. She began asking how the trip has been going and how she really appreciated us speaking Spanish in Spain even though it was somewhat different to the Spanish we natively speak. Here, I realized how important it was for us to immerse into this culture however we can.

The people native to Barcelona are constantly surrounded by tourists and, often times, these people do not respect the Spanish culture and do not try to immerse in it. On our trip, there were other students who were so closed minded and did not attempt to speak the language or try new foods but instead chose to make nasty faces or simply mock the culture almost. When Carlota showed her appreciation, I realized how important it was to be open to new things. People in Spain are generating this hate towards tourists because of the behavior constantly shown. Us, as Latinx students, had to show that we could make a different experience out of this and were willing to learn. From then on, we were always very open to trying new foods, new experiences. The lunch we had after was especially good. We were given a wide variety of tapas, from cheese and meats to bread with tomato. The Spanish culture is so different to the Hispanic culture here, but it was an eye opening experience.

May 18, 2018

One of our last days in Barcelona and our last day of class was probably what we had all been waiting for throughout the trip and since we got back from Madrid. It was the day of the visit to Camp Nou, otherwise known as the Barcelona F.C. stadium. On this day, we had to meet at the school extra early in order for all of us to take the metro and get to our tour on time. Back in Madrid when visiting Santiago Bernabeu or the Real MAdrid Stadium, the metro made us late to our tour and it was unfortunately cut short. However, to the Barca stadium, we made it there early enough to get to view in there. It was not all just for fun though. In the museum section, we had to find out some information about certain players and why some appeared more than others and the history behind the club.

It was extremely interesting to see the contrast between sports in Europe and sports in the United States. By going to these stadiums and attending games, we got to see how people over there use sports as a way to be activists, they use it as a platform for their protests. Especially in Barcelona, they are more than just a club as their motto exemplifies. We got to see the differences in the stadium along time and how it is going to develop even more throughout these next couple of years. Visiting the stadium really gave us a deeper insight as to the rivalry between the Barcelona and Madrid teams and how it goes beyond who is better at soccer but what each team stands for.

After visiting the stadium, we decided to head up to El Tibidabo, which was a church on a high hill overlooking the whole city that would light up and also had an amusement park around it. To get there we had to take the metro to the funicular the funicular up and there take another shuttle bus up to the hill. All in all, it took us about two hours to make it up and walk some. I thought I had seen the nicest view but this view topped it all. There was a 360 view of the whole city. From one side, you could see the whole entire city, from the other you could see the nature aspect of the city covered in forest. This being one of the last days there, it was probably one of the best. Overall, I would not trade my experience in Barcelona for anything. This was a once in a lifetime experience with my friends and now we have memories and friendships that will probably last us a lifetime. I am so eternally grateful for this opportunity!