I chose CEA in Barcelona because they have a track record of providing the perfect balance of teaching while still allowing you to explore and get the most out of your study abroad country.
Marisa Conway is a Junior at Towson University studying Communications. She had the pleasure to study abroad this past summer in Barcelona. She is top of her class and is currently working as a communications intern for the Salute Military Golf Association for Veterans running their Social Media and Marketing department in all 11 of their locations.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Towson pretty much helped with the entire preparation process. They put together a very easy to follow road map of everything I needed to get accomplished before I went abroad. They already had room and board taken care of I just had to pay for it and they had a selection of flights already picked out I could choose from. My main responsibility during the trip was transportation and finding places to eat.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Always keep an open mind where ever you go in the country you visit. There were a lot of things I turned down in Barcelona because they were different and things I wasn't used to. I feel like I missed out on a lot because of this.
Truly the more you get out of your comfort zone the more you will get to experience and the more memories you will make. It is a win-win.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Monday-Friday class is from 10-12:30 pm. After that, you're free to do anything you want -- grab lunch by the beach take a day trip to a different city, go shopping. After you get the important stuff out of the way, as long as you have a friend with you, you can do anything you like.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I was so scared I was going to get lost because I don't speak much Spanish. Also, I thought I was going to get pick-pocketed. I overcame the fear of getting lost by remembering and paying attention to where I was walking at all times.
Remember, it is not good enough to just rely on your friend if they know where they are going, you always want to know where you are as well. I overcame my fear of getting pick-pocketed by making sure I had all my things secured and paying attention to my surroundings.
What is your favorite story from your time abroad?
When a couple of friends and decided to go to Costa Brava for a day (a highly recommended beach city off the cost of Barcelona) we were initially with a group of people and tour guide who only wanted to spend 2 to 3 hours in the city.
My friends and I decided that wasn't long enough and left them and decided to do our own thing. We ended up spending the whole day sipping on Sangria and soaking up the sun, it was so much fun.
What I learned is that some of the most exciting memories I have from Barcelona, and in general, are the ones that are unplanned. Sometimes the best thing you can do is go with the flow.