*Note: Rachel is in Spain for the summer studying abroad. The adventures of an American in Spain will be featured here as her trip progresses.
By: Rachel Steinman, guest blogger
Traveling Abroad Part Dos!
So on my third week in Barcelona, I have finally gotten into the swing of things: in the afternoons, my friends and I either head over to the beach or go around doing the tourist thing. If you ever make it to Barcelona and enjoy museum hopping at a low price, I highly recommend the Articket. For 20 Euros you get admission into SEVEN museums! The normal price for one adult ticket here is 6 Euros, so if you got to all seven museums you are saving some serious cash!
Also, my Spanish has improving slowly. I have learned some important phrases very quickly like â€œIâ€™m sorry,â€ â€œpardon me,â€ â€œI do not understand,â€ and â€œHow much is this?â€ However, most people when they see you struggle will help you along as best they can whether that is speaking English or guess at the little charade you are doing to get your point across.
Unfortunately, when you study abroad you are not graded in your interactions with the locals.
Study Abroad means you are STUDYING abroad.Â Yes, my friends, you still have class.
Just like you are back in the university and have to go to class, the same goes abroad. Here I have Spanish class for beginners from 9 to 12 a.m. everyday. I have to leave my home the Citadines Apart Hotel on the lively street of La Rambla to take the metro to the University of Pompeu Fabra on the other side of the city. On the bright side of going to class is that the University of a 5-minute walk to the Villa Olimpica beach.
If you did not know before Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics and transformed some of their shore and parts of the city to accommodate the athletes that participated in the games. If you go up to MontjÃ¼ic, you will see the principle stadium and the swimming and diving pools built for the Olympics.
Back to the school aspect, a lot of students only received passing or incomplete grades when they study abroad and really do not put in a lot of effort. Their feelings are if it is not going to affect their grade point average, does it not matter?
My take? YES, it DOES matter!
Some students just blow off class entirely to spend the day at the beach and the clubs at night. While that sounds like a great summer vacation you are losing what makes studying abroad so great!
There is so much more than just beach bumming in a European city.
The beauty of a study abroad program is that they teach you abou the city you are in while you are there. You have the unique opportunity to really ‘take in’ much more than the typical vacationer. The architecture and the history stretch back thousands of years and everywhere you go, there is something else to see and do at every corner.
Enough of the lecture and for a more interactive part of the blog: Tonight (June 30, 2009) is the Kick-Off of U2â€™s 360Â° summer concert tour.
Who could resist seeing a concert of that magnitude?
I will update by the end of the weekend on whatâ€™s it like to experience a tour in a different city! Is it similar to the states? Is it crazier?
Tune in to find out!
Rachel Steinman is currently a International Relations and History major, with a minor in Art History, at the University of Florida. She is the 2009-10 UF Model United Nations president and she hopes to enter law school in fall 2009.