Coming from a small school where you are secluded to your small campus and community, need to have a car to get around, have limited options for adventures and food, I was inspired to go abroad for the opportunity to create a new day every day. I studied abroad in High School with AIFS in Granada, Spain and they made my transition and experience seamless and life-changing. I was eager to go abroad with them again because of how positive my past experience was and they had the best program for me. I wanted to go to Barcelona, Spain, be immersed into Spanish language and culture, and stay on track with my liberal arts studies and AIFS UPF Program met all of those needs and beyond. On top of all my requirements for my study abroad experience, AIFS hosted cultural events, lead us on day and weekend trips, and provided support when needed.
When I arrived in Barcelona, AIFS was there to orient me with the city, peers, and UPF campus. Our homestay and classes were chosen for us so little work was required on our end which made the transition easy and comfortable. During my second semester, I lived in a residencia, Residencia Onix, with other AIFS students and international students and that experience was amazing. I lived with a Spanish roommate and we learned so much from each other. Throughout my year abroad, I had an amazing time getting to know the staff at AIFS in Barcelona through events and trips. They are caring, generous, and intelligent people who were always willing to listen and help. They felt like family that brought about a sense of comfortability while in a foreign country.
Furthermore, I really enjoyed my classes offered at UPF: Intermediate and Advanced Spanish Language, Social Movements in the XXI Century to Globalization, Understanding Globalization, Pictures of Spain in Contemporary Cinema, Spanish Literature, and Contemporary Spanish Art. These classes allowed me to immerse myself in Spanish and European Studies while getting credit towards my majors. All of these classes that I took at UPF were very challenging because of the grading system and having tests count towards the majority of your grade but I learned a lot. The teachers were engaged and advocated for your success.
In regards to location - Barcelona is the best place to go abroad. It is such a large city with a fascinating history, beautiful landscape, amazing beaches, inspiring architecture, diverse and energizing Catalan and Spanish culture. The city gave me the opportunity to do something different every day and easy access to traveling around Europe.