Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Barsamian


Lisa attended IES Barcelona in Spring 2012. She is currently an International Relations major at the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys traveling, lying around on the beach, and spending time with friends, family and her dogs!

Why did you decide to study abroad with IES?

Lisa: I knew I wanted to study abroad ever since my first study abroad fair freshman year. I had a very hard time deciding where I wanted to study and what program would be best for me. Once I narrowed down the possibilities to a Spanish speaking country, I had to decide between South America and Europe. Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to get as much out of my study abroad experience and travel to other European countries. So I chose a Spanish city that would allow me to go to all the spots I wanted to fit in my few months abroad. While there are many programs in Barcelona, I was looking for a program that would be most beneficial to me academically. IES Abroad had great reviews and offered so many courses that would transfer back to my university. After lots of research and feedback from older friends, IES Abroad was the most encouraged for education and fun.

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Lisa: During my time abroad I was able to experience so many new things! For years, I had the same group of friends that I would do everything with. Because I decided to study abroad on my own, I was able to meet so many people I would never have been able to meet if I stayed in my comfort zone. Everyday, I tried to go to a new museum, restaurant, or do something exciting that I would never get to do in Texas. Spending afternoons on the beach, strolling through Barrio Gothic, and admiring Gaudi’s creations on a daily basis makes you feel like you are living in a movie!

How has this experience impacted your future?

Lisa: In my classes with IES, I was able to learn so much about the European culture. Especially from chatting with my professors about their lives and experiences in Europe. Studying abroad really forced me to become proactive. If something went wrong, I couldn't just call my family for help. I had to find solutions on my own. Knowing that I can happily and successfully live in another country without my family and best friends close by gave me so much more confidence.