Elizabeth Aguillon - 2013 Program Participant
Joining in and becoming part of the festivities in Barcelona was a great way of learning about the culture and history of this amazing city.
Why did you choose to study abroad in Barcelona?
I chose to study abroad in Barcelona because it had been a dream of mine to travel to Spain. I wanted to go somewhere that would be different, but at the same time I wanted to be somewhere I understood the language. I am also a huge soccer fan, more specifically a huge FC Barcelona/Messi fan, so when the opportunity to travel abroad arose, Barcelona was definitely at the top of my list.
What were your living arrangements like abroad?
While abroad I decided to do a homestay. I was placed with an elderly couple, Magda and Enrique, and with a roommate who was in the same program I was. It was a comfortable living arrangement where I had my own room and a shared bathroom. Our apartment was very close to the metro stop which made it easy to get around the city. My host parents would provide two meals for us, typically breakfast and dinner. My host mother was an amazing cook so we had delicious traditional Spanish meals almost everyday. They were very sweet, always making sure I was adjusting to life abroad alright. They gave me advice on places I should eat and places I should visit.
While I was with them I was also able to work on my language skills a great deal, being that they only spoke to me in Spanish. I was also able to pick up some Catalan by hearing them and my neighbors speak it constantly. I had a great experience with them and even a year later still receive postcards and emails from them!
What was the most memorable experience of your time in Barcelona?
As someone who wants to work in the sports industry and has a great passion for soccer, the most memorable experience of the trip had to do with being at the Camp Nou Stadium. I had the privilege of attending two Champions League matches where I watched my team win and my favorite player score great goals. One of the classes I took was “Sports & Society in Spain” where we learned about how sports have influenced and been influenced by the countries rich history. One of the class activities included visiting the stadium for the Camp Nou Experience Stadium tour and museum. I felt extremely lucky that my program provided me with this unique opportunity that I will never forget.
What are some of the main factors that would bring you back to Barcelona?
I loved the way Barcelona made me feel. I enjoyed the lifestyle that I had while in Barcelona, simple and stress free. I didn’t feel like people were in such a rush like they are here. Even with school, I felt I had the time to take a walk around the city and enjoy it. I would like to go back and experience that all over again. I have even considered living in Barcelona several times since I’ve returned. Also I would love to go back and visit my host parents. They took very good care of me and because of that I regard them as my Spanish familia. Hopefully I make it back soon to give them a visit and have some more of my host mothers food!
In what ways has going abroad impacted your life?
I feel like going abroad forced my to step out of my comfort zone. I am a shy person, so for a very long time I kept to myself and to the things I was used to. Going abroad forced me to try new things and meet new people. I am so grateful for that because through that experience I was able to travel to Morocco, face my fear of heights and flight, and had the chance to meet some amazing people that have become very good friends.
Would you recommend your Barcelona SAE program to others?
YES! Barcelona is an incredible program. I work at the study abroad office at my school now, so I get to see all the different programs that are offered to students. I’ve seen some really good ones, but if I had to go back and chose a program all over again I would still pick Barcelona SAE. I felt very well taken care of by the staff there. Everyone was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to. They offered us weekly cultural activities that included cooking lessons, dance class, day trips, and city tours. I also really enjoyed the two group excursions that we had to Zaragoza and Granada. It was very important for them to make sure we were making the most of our stay in Barcelona, which I really appreciated.
If you could study abroad again, where would you go?
There are so many places I would love to go its difficult for me to pick just one! I think right now it’s a tie between New Zealand and Ireland. Both are beautiful locations with a lot to see and explore. I also wouldn’t mind spending sometime in Morocco. When I studied abroad in Barcelona I had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Morocco and absolutely fell in love with their food!