Kaylynn Noethlich - 2014 Program Participant

Roman ruins on the Mediterranean coast in Tarragona, Spain

The Roman ruins and Mediterranean shoreline in the city of Tarragona, Spain.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

My number one reason for going abroad was to travel as much as I possibly could, and I surely did just that. I wanted to immerse myself in different cultures and become a more responsible, educated global citizen. I find it exciting being among so many different types of people in a strange city.

Why did you choose to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain?

I wanted an adventure and I wanted to experience living in a country with a completely different culture, history, and language. I’m a HUGE fan of the Disney movie, Cheetah Girls II, which was produced in Barcelona—so one day I just decided that the city looked amazing and that’s where I wanted to be.

The Streets of Stockholm, Sweden

Strutting through the streets of Stockholm, Sweden!

Why did you select IES Abroad over other organizations?

When I first made the decision to go abroad, my number one priority was traveling as much as I possibly could, as it is for many students. I never gave much thought to how the program I chose when I went abroad would affect my experience. Yet, unexpectedly IES had such a large affect on making my abroad experience one that was life changing. I truly felt like a local of Barcelona and gained a much more well rounded understanding of the culture.

Where did you live during your study abroad program in Barcelona?

I lived with a host mom—she was in her 70s and lived on her own, and didn’t speak a word of English. At first I was pretty nervous, but I wouldn’t have wanted any other living situation! I learned so much more about what it’s like to live like an actually Spaniard. I got to practice my Spanish a lot more, eat local foods, and witness first hand how locals live.

Describe what your typical day was like Spain.

Most of the students took classes at the IES Abroad program center, as opposed to local universities. A normal day would include two one and a half hour classes and then Spanish class everyday. We’d go out for lunch together, and meet up later for a night on the town.

If you could go back to Barcelona, why would you jump at the chance?

Barcelona is the most magnificent city in the world! Its beauty is breathtaking, as the city was created by Gaudi himself. The weather is perfect, it’s located right on the Mediterranean, and the city is constantly filled with life. You can have any adventure your heart could desire living in Barcelona. Not to mention, the large, convenient international airport for all your traveling needs.

When you returned to the U.S., did you experience reverse culture shock?

Most definitely! American food is super-sized and doesn’t nearly taste as good. Everybody speaks English. The people and lifestyle are just completely different. Not to mention, I no longer hop on a plane every weekend and head to a new country. 

FCB game in Barcelona, Spain

FCB game in Barcelona— Barca won!