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.