I was extremely hesitant about studying abroad because I had never been so far out of my comfort zone. I knew I wanted to go to Spain, preferably a big city so that English wasn't completely impossible to use if necessary. I had a few friends who had studied in Barcelona with API so I decided to give it a shot and apply. From the moment I arrived at the airport in Barcelona, the API staff were there to greet our entire program. They made everything so easy and fun right from the start.
API was always there to help whenever we had any questions or concerns, or just needed help in any way. They brought us on fun and educational day trips, weekend trips, and other various events, and always made us feel safe and excited. They gave us tours around the city, the metro, our neighborhoods, and the school right away. API made the transition from America to Spain so easy and made me feel very welcomed but not smothered, which was very important to me.
I lived in an apartment with three of my friends in la Gracia, a nice neighborhood consisting of many stores, families, and local restaurants and bars. My favorite activity in this neighborhood was to sit in the square on warm afternoons with my friends drinking mojitos, while little children ran around playing soccer.
The classes at UAB were great. The teachers are very aware that study abroad students are trying to do as little schoolwork as possible and never overwhelm you with studying. I walked to school almost every day, enjoying all of the sites as I went along. Each day on my walk to the Sant Pau campus, I would look over at the Sagrada Família and think of how awesome it was to be able to see that and palm trees on my way to class.
Traveling around Europe was incredible and so easy. Of course, we looked for the cheapest flights so they were often at odd hours of the night, causing exhaustion, but it was worth it. Oh, and Ryan Air is one strange experience. I traveled around Spain to Sitges, Valencia, and a few other places on my own, and to Poblet, Sevilla, Cádiz, and Costa Brava with API. I also traveled out of the country to Rome with API, and to Paris and Greece on my own time. Each trip was amazing and has its own unique memories.
The nightlife in Barcelona is the most insane nightlife I've ever experienced anywhere. Our group of friends would head down to the clubs most nights at about 1am and dance the night away until they closed at 6am. I learned very early in the semester that I was going to be constantly tired for the entire trip. Thank God for siesta! There are a bunch of clubs down by the beach, which were always a blast, and there were clubs throughout the city, as well. We saw so many incredible DJs for no more than 15 Euro. Promotors are all over Barcelona to help study abroad students get into every club for free. Although it was exhausting, these Barcelona nights were by far the best nights I've ever experienced.
The four months I spent in Barcelona were easily the best of my life. I met so many incredible people and made lifelong friends through this program. If you have any hesitation about studying abroad with API, don't. Just do it. I promise you will not regret it.