This first week has moved by quickly and I have learned a lot of new things. The metro and figuring out which stops go where has gotten much easier (I just learned there is an app to look up the stops!) and navigating the city is hard without Google Maps in front of you. To any visitors of Barcelona, I recommend downloading the map of the city on there (it’s free).
Since being here before, there wasn’t anything that shocked me too much. Buffalo, NY is very different compared to Barcelona. I take the metro everyday to get where I’m going, I walk much more and have gotten semi-used to the heat. Sometimes there is an overwhelming sense of anxiety or fear that I might get lost, but there are things like the maps that help solidify the security.
I had university orientation on Friday, that went very well, I made some new friends and took the placement exam. We went to a little vegetarian cafe, the food was phenomenal and then we just wandered around some more before the other girls had to go. Being here without knowing anyone means that you get a lot of time to yourself, I didn’t know I could rely on myself as much as I have been lately. Talk about self growth!
Of course the first weekend I get here there is a huge festival throughout Barcelona, it’s called La Merce. There’s different events everyday – all free – including concerts, different performances and other super cool things. Friday was the first night I went, even though it started Thursday; the girls in my program and I went to a concert with Duckwrth and Playback Maracas & the Electric Moon Orchestra. Both were fantastic and the energy of the crowd was absolutely insane.
On Sunday I signed up for the climbing gym here in Barcelona, it’s one hour from my apartment via metro but it’s worth it. As soon as I was signing up for the membership, a bunch of people were leaving the gym. A guy came up to me and (in Spanish) asked if I wanted to be on their team for a bouldering competition coming up. It’s 30 Euro, comes with a t-shirt and the new bouldering problems every week of the four for the competition. In order to figure out the grades of the problems in the gym, I had to ask someone to explain it to me. Almost everyone speaks English here, but she asked if I’d prefer Spanish. Of course I told her yes and that I’m in university here. Blue is the easiest, followed by green, yellow, red, purple and black. The difficulty obviously goes up, but the system for rating the difficulty is different here and is hard to try to find a conversion.
My first day of classes went well and I am excited to keep moving forward with my education here. All of the classes are two hours long and will usually have a break in the middle. The problem with being an exchange student is that you don’t always completely understand what the professors are saying, it’s going to take maximum effort this semester to stay caught up with everything.