What’s it like upon arrival to Barcelona?

Follow the experience of one of our Social Media Interns, Jake, as he recounts his arrival to Barcelona and his orientation experience with ALBA:

“Exciting” is the prevailing word used by students when describing their arrival to Barcelona. To me, it was nothing short of extraordinary, though I had a slightly different experience than most ALBA students. While I doubt my route was the longest among students here at ALBA, it may well have had the most stops, which creates a very different viewpoint than many of the other students will have that are part of the program. My first stop came to Iceland, where I had the unfathomable pleasure of seeing the northern lights which was completely and utterly breathtaking and was a memory I will not soon forget. This was followed by stopovers in Copenhagen and Sweden where I had the pleasure of making countless new friends through my girlfriend who is also in the ALBA  study abroad program. This newfound perspective gave me an interesting sense to look through and to compare and contrast my arrival in Sweden compared to my arrival in Barcelona.

The first thing that struck me about Barcelona was the temperature and the local’s reaction to it. When I arrived it was probably around 50 degrees fahrenheit and extremely comfortable, especially compared to the sub-zero temperatures that were present in the frigid Scandinavian towns that I had become accustomed to, and as most of my fellow students hail from the northern reaches of the United States (University of Washington, Portland State, Dartmouth, and Oregon State), they had similar reactions. The weather here is beautiful and altogether amazing.

Not only does great weather but it also offers some stunning architecture that can hardly be rivaled. Upon arriving in Barcelona I was floored by the age and beauty of every building in the city, even the apartment building I was staying in that first night was over 100 years old. This is something that, even with my trip to Sweden was completely shocking and new. One can truly feel the history around them as they walk the streets of Barcelona, even as you simply walk through Barcelona you can feel the age and beauty of the city. The age and construction of the city was something that I found very intriguing and in a sense difficult to manage at first. Though I have since quickly acclimated.

My welcome from Charles was something that I greatly enjoyed as Charles picked me and Shumani (my girlfriend) up he gave a great many examples of why he is amazing at his job as he gave us a brief tour of the city on the way to my apartment and made sure we were both settled in our respective places.

This was followed by orientation and a walking tour the next day in which we met all of our fellow students and had lunch before starting our classes. This was truly a highlight as the faculty made us feel at home and comfortable along with the fact that ALBA does an amazing job of selecting the cream of the crop for its students which made it quite easy to feel right at home with fellow like-minded individuals. All in all my first impression of the ALBA and Barcelona was one of awe and excitement.