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Athena Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain
Athena Study Abroad participants doing the love sign Athena Study Abroad participants doing the love sign

Athena Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

The program activities were great!

Athena offered more locations to choose from, than the other programs at my school. Our on-site advisor frequently contacted me through email to see how I was doing, and was very nice.

It's so interesting to see how other countries live, and I feel like traveling throughout Europe during my study abroad experience has widened both my appreciation towards different ways of live, and increased my desire to travel more! Personally, I think the only challenge I faced was balancing my time. At the beginning of the semester I had severe FOMO and felt the need to accomplish as much as possible while I was abroad. Then as time went by I began to accept that there is only so much time in a semester, and I'll just have to return to Europe in the future if I still have unfinished sites to see.

The program activities were great! I saw so many places in Catalonia that on my own I would have ventured to. The staff and the trips through the partnering program ALA (Active Learning Abroad) played a significant role in my time abroad. They were very helpful with anything the students needed, and the chaperoned trips throughout Spain were very fun, and allowed me to build long lasting relationships with the other students in my program. I found each of my classes to be intellectually level with my college courses at home. In my opinion the classes were simply more challenging because the method's of teaching were vastly different from professors in the US.

The location of my accommodation was prime! Very safe neighborhood, and centrally located. Barcelona is such a touristy city that sometimes the Spaniards would get annoyed with tourists, but if you attempted to speak Spanish and were respectful, they didn't mind. Overall, the city was very safe; possibly even safer than many places in the US. During my free time I traveled, enjoyed nightlife with the friends I made.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

This has taught me an immense amount of things

Challenging myself to travel and experiencing cultures and people who live in a way that I was not familiar with, has taught me an immense amount of things about myself and how I view the world. Being able to live in a different country for an extended amount of time will help you grow as a person in ways you didn't know existed within yourself. This experience is different from simply traveling somewhere for a short time. Studying abroad is a challenge, but its a challenge that makes you stronger, and wiser..and the experiences stay within your soul forever. I think now I have a better understanding of cultures, I have a better understanding and a deeper compassion for how people view the world, even if it is different from mine. Mostly, I have learned so much about myself and have become more of an individual through this experience. I have more empathy towards how different conditions form a person all over the world and how ultimately all people can be free of this, or not.

It would be a challenge for me to pinpoint a single person, or experience I had that impacted me the most while abroad. It was a culmination of things; all the different cultures and people I experienced, all the traveling I did, all the internal battles I overcame, and the fears I faced while going into the unknown, sometimes not knowing a language, hoping people spoke English or maybe being able to wifi to translate something. The past 4 months taught me mostly not to be afraid of myself, because that is always my biggest challenge.

Some of my struggles were; The language needed to be adjusted, what time I ate and what time I would go to the stores I wanted to because of siesta things were different with timing. Planning was another thing. I made a good Spanish friend and he taught me to plan less. It has been freeing overall. The other is trying to meet more Spanish people. The only issue I had with the program is that through the program I only interacted with American students. Don't get me wrong, a lot of them were amazing and became very good friends of mine, but for the most part many of them were still stuck in America...in Spain. I figured out my own ways of meeting Spanish people but it would be cool for future students maybe to be in some sort of club where they could more easily meet locals.I downloaded a tinder:) hahaha

I loved my roommate, the space was clean and modern. I had a beautiful terrace, lived across the street from a market and was two blocks away from the train. It was almost too perfect. Only issue is that we shared the building with a lot of older people and a lot of times they would complain to us about noise when we really weren't doing anything. Like seriously we weren't doing anything. So that got annoying. So maybe possibly be in a building where its mostly young people?

I had studied through Athena before and I really enjoyed how easy it was for me to stay in contact with the advisors as well as the freedom it offered me within the program. I like doing my own thing and I felt Athena gave me that opportunity. They were stimulating and for the most part engaging. They weren't as challenging as my home institution but I think I didn't want it to be at all because for me it was much more important to absorb what was happening around me. I think they made it less challenging for that reason and I respect that. Alturo (our on-site advisor) was literally an angel. I enjoyed his company immensely. He not only provided me with all the information I needed at all times to be able to maneuver through the country more easily, but provided me with wisdom, emotional and moral support throughout. He encouraged me to believe in myself always, and emailed me at least once or twice a week asking me how everything was and kept me updated on whatever it is I needed to know.

I traveled so much during my free time. I went to Morocco, the south of Spain, Sevilla and Alicante. I went to Krakow, Poland, Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Israel, and Ibiza. I partied alot, experiencing all different bars, clubs and festivals in all different places. I created alot of art, had the opportunity to do graffiti on a reserved wall in Barcelona, went out to eat alot, dated alot of Spanish people, spent time with friends I made exploring, and really being a tourist. Barcelona I felt was one of the safest cities in the world. I am from Chicago and I never ever thought I would have had the opportunity ever in my life to walk home alone in heels at 2AM and know nothing was going to happen to me. The nightlife is incredible, very fun, like I think Barcelona has the best nightlife in the world. So many cultural events, and the people are kind, so long as you are kind and understanding. I did often see them get annoyed with foreigners who were getting out of hand but it was completely understandable.