New to Barcelona? Looking for ways to integrate and survive while exploring? Our intern, Liv, shares a few tips from her summer study abroad in Barcelona!
- The next time you go to tell someone you’re about to have the most amazing time studying abroad in Spain, think again. No – not about the amazing part, but about the country of Spain. Many people in Barcelona do not identify as Spanish in any way, shape, or form, as the language and culture of Cataluña dominate this city. Most people speak Catalan with family and friends, and Castellano with grandparents and in other formalities. Not everyone in Barcelona wants to secede as an independent country, but these sentiments are definitely present at times (like the spotting of a Cataluñia flag out of an apartment window).
- The weather: it is in Celsius, and does not change for anybody. Don’t fret though… summer in Barcelona is typically hot (especially in July) and you will be wearing shorts/dresses with a light layer some nights. And don’t forget an umbrella for the occasional drizzle! I chose what to wear in the morning after looking out onto the street to see what other people are rocking. Easy! Basically, if the weather is going to be more than 25 degrees Celsius, you’ll find me in a dress.
- The letter “Ç“ is NOT equivalent to C. Found on many signs and around the city of Barcelona, this letter is pronounced as a hard c. Say plaza, not plaka!
- People here run on military time, and appreciate when you do, too. It’s not necessary to memorize it if you really don’t want to, but be respectful and know a few “key” hours. This goes without saying, but don’t be that person trying to keep your own cultural values and practices in another country. Honestly, I’m just going to be blunt by telling you now that it’s rude. The people here may try to speak in English to you, or adapt to your standards with temperature, language, and time, but they are simply being polite. Make an effort to be courteous and get to know their culture. Go out of your way for them, and for your later benefits as well. They will 100% appreciate your attempts to embrace their culture, even if your Spanish isn’t great and you have to count on your fingers for military time. There’s only one way you’re going to get better, and that is by practicing!
- A bottle of water is more expensive than a glass of wine in some restaurants. We definitely take public water fountains for granted in America- there a few here and they do not encourage you to drink tap water, either! Keeping hydrated around the clock is important, so buy an 8 liter for your apartment and drink out of plastic water bottles while walking around. Or get a glass of wine.
Olivia Schreiber, or Liv, as she prefers to be called, is an ALBA Study Abroad student and our awesome social media marketing intern. You can follow her photos via our Instagram here. She shares her thoughts on a regular day during summer abroad in Barcelona with us below: