Unlike a typical "study abroad" experience, I had an internship in Barcelona, Spain during the summer through IES Abroad. At first I was unsure what I would be able to do for studying abroad because my home university is so strict for transferring credit for my major in the communications field from study aboard, especially for internships. In the end I decided the experience of an internship abroad heavily outweighed getting the credits for my degree.
I fell in love with Barcelona from the first night I was there. As someone who had traveled abroad for family vacations multiple times prior ro my study abroad experience, I was excited to stay somewhere for an extended period of time (2 months) and be able to essentially live among the locals. I lived in an apartment, on Gran Via de les Corts, one of the main streets that runs through the city, with three other Americans on the IES Abroad program and we all had one RA who also lived with us. Being able to be independent in regards to living really helped me get to know the city because I had to figure out the public transportation system to get everywhere I needed to go, whether it be my internship, class grocery shopping or touring the city.
Working in Barcelona definitely posed some challenges for me as an American college student, but none that I wasn't able to navigate around by myself. I absolutely loved my internship experience because I felt like a part of the company I worked for, not an intern. I focused all summer on tasks relevant to my field (marketing) and was able to learn a lot about the company during my time there. I never felt like I was forced to be doing things I didn't want to and generally enjoyed working there from day to day. I was luckily enough to work with another IES Abroad student at my internship and that helped relive some of the anxiety of being around people I didn't know who spoke a language I wasn't fluent in.
Being immersed in the Spanish and Catalonian culture for two months was the best part of my time abroad. I don't remember ever being disappointed with the food I ate at restaurants, despite the fact that being a vegetarian in Barcelona is difficult. There are a lot of events going on all around the city on any given day, so if you just explore the city you're bound to find something interesting. There are a lot of quaint parks scattered among the bustling of the city that are great places to go take a picnic, read a book or do some homework. Whether you're into shopping, the beach, the nightlife or the tourist attractions, there is so much to do in Barcelona, you won't know what to do first!