IES Abroad Barcelona - Liberal Arts & Business

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About

There are a wide variety of courses available, primarily taught in English by our world-class faculty. When you arrive, you are grouped into language proficiency-based levels to focus your course enrollment options. This will also provide a sense of community with your fellow students and will challenge you to maximize your learning.

In addition to your Spanish language course, you will choose from a variety of English-taught IES Abroad courses, as well as Spanish- and English-taught local university courses to round out your semester. All IES Abroad courses include field study activities that help you connect coursework with your surroundings. You can also take Spanish-taught IES Abroad courses.

Questions & Answers

Yes, there are 4 day breaks twice throughout the Fall semester.
As far I as I know you need to be a current undergraduate student. At least everyone in my program was. You should also verify with IES themselves.

Reviews

93%
based on 67 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9
Showing 16 - 30 of 67
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R.
9/10

Never enough time in Barcelona

I had a fantastic experience studying in Barcelona with IES Abroad. After completing a backpacking trip through Europe with friends, I picked Barcelona as the city I would choose to return to, to study abroad, if I would be lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a semester there. I'm so glad I picked Barcelona because it really helped me increase my Spanish language skills, and allowed me to experience so many places nearby. IES Abroad helped such a big city like Barcelona feel smaller, by setting up opportunities to volunteer and places to visit. I signed up for the intercambio program which helped me meet a local who I am still in contact with today. To have a good time in Barcelona I think you need to be adventurous, open to learning about a new way of life, excited to practice your Spanish, and able to function on little sleep. I never felt homesick during my semester because my host family made me feel at home and I knew the semester would fly by! I highly recommend staying with a host family, and going on day trips to nearby cities such as Girona, and Sitges. I recommend avoiding touristy places and speaking Spanish with as many people as possible. I enjoyed the small class sizes of my IES Abroad classes and my teachers. I chose IES Abroad because everyone at my study abroad center assured me that they had a very well-developed program, and were on top of things. This allowed me and my family to feel good about choosing to study abroad with them. I had a great experience in Barcelona and hope you do as well!

How can this program be improved?
I would like to see even more volunteer opportunities offered, as the volunteering experiences were so special to me, it would be nice to volunteer even more. I also think it would be great if faculty could provide a calendar of events taking place in Barcelona that could be distributed via email monthly. So much is going on in Barcelona, it would be nice to have a list of big events so I could plan my weekend travel around that.
Yes, I recommend
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Brigid
10/10

The best semester of my life

I knew before I even started applying to college I wanted to study abroad. I picked IES because it came highly recommended to me and I wanted to be in Barcelona. Picking IES was the best decision I made. Your program truly defines what your experience will be like. IES made all the pre-departure paperwork easy and were helpful answering the 100's of questions I had. Once I got to Barcelona, they continued to be helpful. IES offers different actives such as bike rides, cooking classes, and tours of different neighborhoods. This gave me the opportunity to meet friends and get acquainted with my new city.
I decided to live in an apartment which was provided through IES. This was the perfect situation for me because I have already lived in an apartment independently before. I had to do all my own cooking but I loved it! I ended up getting to know the local shop owners. I would get my groceries from various markets. I even had a little fish shop where they spoke no English! It was challenging but I never felt more accomplished or proud when I placed my entire order of fish in Spanish!
The friends you make abroad are friendships that last a lifetime. One of my favorite memories that I think about often is going to get gelato between classes on Tuesday afternoon, strolling through the Gothic Quarter. It's little moments like that that I cherish so much.
Getting homesick is part of the experience, but everyone is going through the same thing, even if it's at different stages. When I lost my iPhone, the front desk woman helped me by calling the cab company since my Spanish was not strong. When I was sick, the study affairs office made sure I saw a doctor. Whatever question I had, IES was there to answer it.
I loved that my professors really brought the classroom into the city. Many of my classes went on field trips around the city. When my parents came to visit, I was able to lead them around and tell them many different fact about the city I didn't even realize I knew. It became my home. I grew to love certain neighborhoods, a favorite running path, and a favorite cafe to study (Organic's - right down the street from the IES center)
Studying abroad is something everyone should do. Of course it's a little scary but so worth it. I learned what it means to be a global citizen, I traveled to different famous European cities, ate amazing food, and I made incredible friendships. IES was organized and helpful from day one, which helped make this the best semester of my life.

How can this program be improved?
I think the biggest thing they could improve upon is getting students information about cell phones. I spent an entire day trying to figure out the best option. Also, not having finals on Friday would help make the transition home a bit easier.
Yes, I recommend
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Tauriah
10/10

Viviendo en Barcelona

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I took the big step to go to Barcelona, Spain for my 2016 spring semester of college. It was hard to leave my family, but once I made it and met my loving host mom and great roommates I knew I would be alright until April. I was able to not only improve my Spanish, but I got to do so in an actual Spanish speaking country. The Spanish culture was what I enjoyed the most.I learned so much about myself that I may not have known until later in life if I had not gone. I am not fine with traveling alone, spending the night in an airport, or hoping on a plane and going to another country. It was all worth it.

How can this program be improved?
I think if they enforced speaking Spanish in the IES building more that would help those who are not on the upper levels.
Yes, I recommend
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Shannon
10/10

An Unforgettable Semester

When I first decided to study away, I had no idea where I wanted to go (besides somewhere in Europe) or with which program. In a meeting with my advisor, I said that I was thinking about Italy. Since I was studying Spanish, she laughed and instead suggested IES Barcelona Business and Liberal Arts. She said it would be perfect; I could take my business, my general education, and my Spanish classes PLUS live in Europe. And you know what? She was right.

Spending a semester in Barcelona was more than I could have ever imagined it and there are three reasons why.

1) My host family was phenomenal. My mom was a teacher, my dad a doctor, and they had three boys ranging from 12-16. They welcomed me, and my two roommates, into their family with arms wide open. We had dinners together every single night, where they challenged us to work on our Spanish (even though they knew quite a bit of English), played video games with the younger brother, and even had a family ping-pong tournament. When I was debating whether to live in an apartment or a homestay, I was worried that I would feel trapped in a family dynamic and that it would be weird to leave to go on trips or to go hang out with friends, but that wasn’t the case. They had hosted before so they knew how life would be with study abroad students, and in fact, they encouraged us to go to cultural events and to get out of the house as much as possible. I do not think I could have asked for a better living situation if I tried, and I will definitely stay in contact with them. They’re my Spain family!

2) The history and art of Barcelona are impressive. If you had asked me about art before going to Spain, I would have said, “ehh it’s ok”. Ask me now, and I will tell you all that I know about European art, especially the work by Gaudí. I would never have called myself an art enthusiast before going abroad, but now, I love art! My turning point was learning about and seeing the Block of Discord (which consists of three houses designed by Gaudí, Puig i Cadafalch, and Domenech i Montaner) and La Sagrada Familia.

3) The friends I made are lifelong. We all shared one of the key personality traits that I need in a friend: adventurous. Each and every person I met, had plans to do and see things and to enjoy their time however that meant to them. But in all, we shared a magical experience that no one else will quite understand. We stayed up all night to see the sunrise from the Bunkers, ate patatas bravas every day for a snack, flew cheap flights at 6am, found local festivals to attend, bought more souvenirs then we could really bring home, etc. The only sad part is that since we went with a study abroad program (versus one at our home school), we are all scattered across America, which makes seeing each other a bit of a challenge.

Thinking back, the only part I would change, would be coordinating my travel plans with the friends I made. Many weekends, one set of friends would travel while the others were in Barcelona and then it would flip. It made it hard to just live in Barcelona with a normal lifestyle. That being said, studying away isn't really a normal experience and you learn that you have to put your wants/desires first to make your dreams come true.

Overall, I was very impressed with my study abroad experience and now as my next semester is approaching, my only question is: can I go back?!

How can this program be improved?
I don't have many suggestions. I really enjoyed my semester abroad.
Yes, I recommend
Maddie
10/10

My Home Away From Home

My name is Maddie and I studied in Barcelona, Spain with IES's Liberal Arts & Business program for the Spring 2016 semester. I found Barcelona rather intimidating when I first arrived in El Prat airport on January 7, 2016. When I met the IES administrators, however, everything changed. The staff at IES answered all my burning questions, directed me to my new home and best of all, spoke English very well.

The staff at IES were staples in my day to day life in Barcelona. Be that my lovely Spanish teacher, the staff who guided IES through different cities in Spain, my Barcelona Cultural Companion or the staff making me emergency doctor appointments. Through IES guidance, I found myself on free Bus tours of the city, visiting Granada, and eating typical a typical Catalan feast! I was able to complete everything on my "Barcelona Must See List" and more. Including an amazing castel festival, a flamenco show and a cooking class!

Additionally, my experience at a local university only enhanced my abroad experience. I met amazing professors, of whom I still am in touch with; as well as friends to last a life time!

How can this program be improved?
I think IES can be more upfront about housing options as well as more clear on how classes function at local universities.

In Barcelona and with IES, not all housing is equal. I was in an old apartment off the L2 and L5 that had a dingy kitchen and no dryer. My good friends, however, were off the Glories stop and had a stainless steel kitchen, patio and full washer and dryer. Yet, we all pay the same apartment fee.

Additionally, in my registration process for UPF I was registered for two sections of the same class and was unable to choose the professor I preferred after sitting in on both classes. Also keep in mind I was not notified that in my classes at UPF only American, there were English speaking students. I would have chosen another class option or University in order to gain more of a cultural immersion and connection with local students and peers my age.
Yes, I recommend
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Malia
10/10

Interning and Studying in Barcelona

I studied in Barcelona, Spain with IES Abroad during the Spring 2016 semester. I chose to intern and study abroad throughout my time in Barcelona, which is a decision I highly recommend. My internship was at a children's teaching hospital, which was an extremely rewarding experience, despite being pretty emotional. If you're interested in having an internship while abroad, you should plan on having much less of a social life than other students who are also studying in Barcelona. Barcelona is known for its nightlife (amongst many other things), and students in IES seemed to go out 3-5 times a week. I was lucky if I went out twice in a week, because internships take up about 8-10 hours of your time every week (on top of being a student) and at IES you DO actually need to study. The academics were a little more difficult than I anticipated, but the teachers and advisors were helpful and approachable whenever I had issues or questions. If exploring new cultures and getting out of your comfort zone excites you, you should definitely study with IES Abroad in Barcelona.

How can this program be improved?
I think the teachers and administration should communicate more about when midterms, finals, and projects are due. I found that all of my projects, exams, and papers were all due on the same dates, which made it difficult to travel and live up my abroad experience some weeks, while other weeks I had no assignments. If teachers and administration communicated to spread out the due dates, I think the academics would be a little more manageable.
Yes, I recommend
Natalie
8/10

Exceptional staff and overall great experience

Studying in Barcelona was a fantastic experience made all the more better by the community of friends and IES staff that surrounded me. IES provided me the opportunity to see (and build) my first castelle, visit ancient Roman ruins, explore antique cathedrals, volunteer in a children's hospital, and run my very first 15k...in SPAIN! I enjoyed cultural excursions to ancient cities and took in the sights and wonders of local Barcelona city life.

Housing - Let me start by saying I can only speak to my own situation as each student in each program/city/living style has a different one. I will admit that I had a rough homestay experience due to lack of cleanliness in the apartment, but the staff at IES were very willing to help me in whatever way I needed. They respectfully listened to each of my complaints and began immediately to fix the situation. One week I became severely sick, and one of the IES staff made the 30 minute commute over to my homestay on a Saturday to check in on me. This kind of dedication to students is unmatched and I cannot speak highly enough of the amazing character of the IES staff.

Academically, IES prides itself in being rigorous. This rigor comes from a set of requirements that each course has to adhere to, but does not always do so in the most efficient way. For example, having to write 7-12 page essays in most of your classes is not ideal when you wait last minute and have to study for finals. This was a problem many of my study abroad peers fell into.
Most of the professors I had clearly laid out the guidelines for the course they taught. If they didn't, then that professor turned out to not be very organized and the course ended up being exceptionally easy (this happened with one course I took).

Socially, the amount of cultural excursions and day trips in fantastic! Many of my study abroad peers did not take advantage of these opportunities and severely missed out. I would highly recommend signing up for as many as you are interested in (and can afford). Most are well-organized and best to sign up for via IES. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it could be just as easy (and fun) to get a group of friends and visit a place on your own time and dime.

In all, IES Barcelona is a very well-established program with exceptional staff. There may be a few organizational hiccups within the program (such as outdated course syllabi and excursion info), but these pale in comparison to the wonderful experience you are going to have by taking the effort to make your study abroad experience your own.

How can this program be improved?
They could really update the computer system they use for coursework and announcements, Moodle, as it is complicated and disorganized. They could also update the course syllabi and excursion descriptions, as many are outdated or include inaccurate information.
Yes, I recommend
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Bridget
9/10

Abroad at Last

The day that I left my comfortable Ann Arbor bubble for Barcelona was predictably filled with mixed emotions. I hugged my parents goodbye, and armed with a 2015 picture-filled guide to Spain and a jumbo-sized bag of pretzel m & m’s I felt relatively ready.
Arrival in Barcelona was a frenzy of color and smiles- all of my peers were riding out a delusional joy-filled exhaustive state, and Cèsar himself was there to greet us. Then came our first chance to actually use the Spanish that we had been practicing in our classrooms for quite some time: the taxi ride to what would be our home for the next four months. I’d be lying if I said it went particularly smoothly, but luckily enough, my co-passenger and I safely made it to our destination on Gran Vía, directly across from the very classy Bingo Billiards.
The integration into the culture and vibrancy of Barcelona was swift and wonderful- and I can say that IES facilitated all of this with their helpful introductory meetings and fun, free activities, from a cycling tour of the city to a gorgeous Mediterranean lunch overlooking the sea. From all of these engaging, informative, trips, I met many of my peers, and began to forge relationships that would only grow throughout my time there.
Academically, I was able to take fascinating classes and learn from wonderful teachers. From Sports & Society in Spain to Banditry & the Mafias in the Mediterranean- I was able to delve into topics in an environment that was open to questioning and dialogue.
What truly made my experience so magical, however, wasn’t necessarily the incredible museums and beaches and restaurants and castles and nights out. No, it wasn’t the mouth-watering food or breath-taking views (though those certainly did help). No, it was the people that I met. My professors, my peers, my friends. I came into study abroad not knowing what to expect but eager to find out- and what I was met with was more intelligence, kindness, and hilarity then I could have ever hoped for. I realized how you can click with those who you thought you would never click with, how integral just being able to try is, and how each and every person and each and every part of the world has so many wonderful things to offer. IES made this all possible- and I can’t recommend it enough.

Yes, I recommend
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Natalie
9/10

A City to Call Home

Before studying abroad, I could never have predicted that I would come to call another place home. The time I spent in Barcelona was the best three and a half months of my life, and I wouldn’t trade the experience I had there for anything.
Although I was nervous to leave my family and friends, I felt completely prepared for my travels thanks to IES’s detailed pre-departure information. Before, during, and after the program, IES was there to support students. The staff was attentive and genuinely cared about their students’ safety, health and happiness.
Another great thing about IES staff was how much effort they put into placing students in the best housing. I was assigned a homestay in Horta, a neighborhood relatively far from the city center. It didn’t bother me that Horta was far away from the IES center because my homestay was absolutely perfect. My host mom immediately made me feel at home. Our house was beautiful, spacious and clean. She not only taught me to speak Spanish, but also many countless things about culture, food, kindness, family, and life. She was the happiest, most kind hearted person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
The city of Barcelona is unspeakably beautiful. I was worried about living in a city, especially considering how prevalent pick-pocketing is in Barcelona. It turned out that within a few weeks I had a thorough understanding of the layout of the city, public transportation, how to protect your belongings, and, most importantly, how to keep yourself safe. The city offers limitless options for things to do, sights to see, places to eat, and stores to shop. And if you do want to escape the city for a day, Barcelona is located just south of the beautiful Costa Brava beach towns.
I would encourage anyone and everyone to do this program. Barcelona is such a diverse and exciting city – there is something there for everyone. It was also a great location for weekend travel throughout Europe, since, as a big city, there were reasonably priced flights from El Prat Airport to anywhere you could want to go. Then again, you might find yourself in this city not wanting to go anywhere at all…

How can this program be improved?
Class times were spread out over the entire day and went until 7 pm. It would be better if courses were scheduled differently to prevent students being in the IES center from 9 am to 7 pm some days.
Yes, I recommend
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Andrew
10/10

Barcelona Nightlife

Barcelona is an incredibly unique city, and has an amazing combination of culture, history, food, and nightlife. For those of you arriving this fall, there are so many things that you will have to do immediately! Between Gaudi's many works across the city, the delicious paella and tapas options, and F.C.Barcelona's upcoming season, you will undoubtably be busy. At night, make sure to experience the legendary nightlife, made easier by who I think is without a doubt the city's best promoter, Aashi. With Aashi's List, you get a VIP experience with free entry to the city's top clubs, birthday celebrations, and the ability to meet so many other study abroad students. Getting to know Aashi and going out with so many other students who wanted to have the same semester abroad experience I did made my time in Barcelona even more amazing. If you are going to Spain this year, get ready for the time of your life!

Yes, I recommend
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Addie
9/10

Whirlwind combinations

One story that best expresses my time abroad is the time I was hiking in the mountains just outside of Barcelona. It was warm out - I'd spent the earlier part of the weekend lounging on the beach - and it was quiet, a totally different experience than that of the city.
I met a woman on the mountain who was meditating. We talked for a bit, first in my broken Spanish and then in English, and she told me about all the surrounding mountains, some of which I'd already climbed.
When I left her, I ran into a wild boar nosing around in the dirt. Even though it was huge, I felt peaceful and happy to see my first wild animal of the trip.
That memory stuck with me when I returned to the city, full of metros and crowds and restaurants of every kind. It was like I could have it all - nature and city life wrapped into one!

How can this program be improved?
I think some of the classes could be improved because there were some communication issues between the professors and students. I found that I had to write simpler essays than I would at my home college because of language barriers. I felt like I wasn't able to challenge myself and learn much in these classes. However, most of my classes were engaging and thought-provoking.
Yes, I recommend
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Joanne
9/10

Awaiting My Return to Barcelona

When I began college, never in a million years did I think I would study abroad in Europe. When I decided to, I just had a good feeling that I would enjoy Spain and this city. What could be better than being on the Mediterranean? Nothing actually, it took some adjusting to but I came to love this city and my surroundings.
IES did a great job at getting students settled in and helping them adjust. Upon arrival at the airport, they gave you directions on exactly what to do. The facilitators were very helpful and told students great places to go, where to get the best food, and the unsafe places to avoid. Professors were also very understanding with schoolwork and projects, as they knew students would want to be traveling to other places in Europe. The facility was located in the heart of the city, and looked very new. It was very clean, had computer labs, study lounges, and clean classrooms. It was located at the center of everything. I went on several IES weekend trips, day trips, and after school adventures, and I had nothing but positive experiences. The chaperones were great, everything was planned out well, and you got to see the heart of where you were visiting. They provided many opportunities to go to other cities like Madrid, Granada, or the Basque Country, but also local things to do like wine tasting, cooking class, and hikes within the city. They really helped me to go out and learn the city I was living in. The potential they gave you to explore was the best part.
My living situation was a home stay in an apartment with an 84 year old woman who was the sweetest thing. My roommate and I ate dinner with her every night as we had nice dinner conversations, only in Spanish. Speaking in Spanish also helped me learn the city and the people within in. She gave us a great taste of Spanish cuisine, and was always asking questions about what we were doing.
IES turned into a very fun experience for me, where I got to meet new people in the same position as me, who also wanted to explore and learn a new lifestyle.
If you are at a high point in the city, it just makes you realize you're in one of the coolest places in the world. Barcelona is an amazing city, with so many opportunities of having fun and exploring. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to this day. IES was a great program who will help you explore the world.

How can this program be improved?
Be a little more on time with events, trips.
Yes, I recommend
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Sarah
10/10

GO GO GO!

Studying abroad in Barcelona was the best decision I have ever made. It opened my eyes to so much about the work and about myself. While in this amazing city I grew to be an independent, open-minded, global citizen. I would not trade this experience for anything (except maybe the chance to go back again :))

Yes, I recommend
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Rebecca
10/10

Challenging and Worth Wild Experience

Studying abroad was the best experience I ever had. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity where you learn more about yourself, the world and people you would never normally meet. I was nervous to go at first but IES helped a lot through the whole process and how to adjust to a new culture. They were completely safe and made sure you knew how to handle the adjustment as well as being open for help if needed. I had an amazing time learning and exploring and I couldn’t of done it without IES Abroad. I walked into my homestay with no idea of the language but my host family chosen by IES was so welcoming it was hardly a problem and in the end I had a spectacular time. There were challenges but that made the whole experience worth it and I am so much better for studying abroad with the IES Abroad program.

Yes, I recommend
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Andrew
10/10

If Only I Could Go Back

I always knew that I would be studying abroad at some point during my college career. Coming in, I did not know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to explore and fulfill a dream. I chose Barcelona because of my limited knowledge in Spanish as well as the desire to be located in Europe for a semester. I enrolled in IES, at first, only because it was the study abroad program that affiliated with my university. After leaving this program, I came to the realization that IES is one of the best programs offered for studying abroad around the world.

This program challenges you not only academically, but also personally. Being able to be in classes with no more than 25 students was a big transition for me, and I was finally able to establish a relationship with every one of my professors. If you go to a large school like I do, I would highly recommend choosing a program like IES.

I was also challenged by many of my professors to experience new things while studying in Spain. Everyone encouraged seeking new places to go, but to learn something about yourself while on your journey. I even found enough courage to travel one weekend by myself. Before this semester of studying abroad, I would have never imagined doing something like this, but now I know that I can travel to so many different places and not have to worry about taking care of myself.

Picking how to stay while in Barcelona can be challenging, but the best choice is the residence hall. I made a group of friends from students all over the US as well as others from Spain. Living in an apartment or a homestay does not give you the ability to meet and live with more than a few people for the whole semester, and that can be a problem at times. Being able to see so many different people each and every day brought me so much joy, and I would not change that for the world.

The IES center is also perfectly located in the city of Barcelona. Right at the tip of Plaza Catalunya, I was able to walk over to La Rambla during my lunch break as well as exploring the Gothic District for hours on end. You can find almost anything you may want or need in just this one place. Barcelona is becoming one of those cities where every study abroad student in Europe puts on their travel list. This city certainly cannot be seen in just one weekend. It took me an entire semester to barely see all of the city.

Studying in Barcelona was absolutely amazing, but it would not have been as great if it was not for IES. This program did everything in their power to make sure that every student was enjoying their semester. They truly do care and they show it with their overall care and persistence to provide every type of opportunity possible for their students. Choose Barcelona. Choose IES. Enjoy a semester you will never forget.

How can this program be improved?
I believe that there needs to be more communication with the residence hall and the IES Abroad Staff. The supervisor of the residence hall favored the Spanish students a bit over the American students because they were able to fully communicate with the supervisor. I feel that something needs to be done in order to have this issue solved and for the supervisor to be able to communicate exactly what he/she feels to the American students that are not fluent in Spanish.
Yes, I recommend

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