To get away from the busy cities of Spain, hop on the next flight to the Balearic Islands for the opportunity to see beautiful crystal beaches and breath taking architecture. In the Balearic Islands you will find the beautiful city of Mallorca, which is so far my favorite city in spain. Known for growing olives and having fresh seafood, Mallorca is definitely a great place to authentic Spanish food. I would recommend ordering paella here because it is actually real paella, not the kind that comes in a package and restaurants warm it up for you.
Besides the great food, you will also stumble upon amazing beaches. Personally, I believe these beaches are by far some of the best in Spain. One beach in particular that is a must is the beach at Mondrago Natural Park. This park is a glorious coastal reserve, which offers wetlands, turquoise seas, and, of course, sandy beaches. You will not be disappointed if you take time out of your schedule to visit this area because the breath taking views and crystal, warm water is definitely worth it. From hiking to cliff jumping, there is a little bit of everything for anyone to do.
I know it has been a long time since I have posted on True Lue, but I am going to do my best to change that! Life has been crazy between booking hotel rooms to flights, but I have finally arrived in Barcelona, Spain. I arrived on May 28th and am currently all settled in with my host mother. I am very excited to share this amazing journey with all of you and I would like to begin my first post in Barcelona with explaining where I am staying in this beautiful city and what an average day for me looks like.
Well as I previously explained in a later post, I am studying abroad with a program called API and am enrolled in the intensive language program. Not having any prior Spanish knowledge, I knew this program would really kick my butt, but I also knew I would learn much more through immersing myself in the culture. In Barcelona, I am staying with a host mom and she is just darling. She is 71 years old and lives alone in a tiny little apartment near Sagrada Familia. Although my host mom and I can’t communicate very much since she only speaks Spanish, it really forces me to try to learn the language. By the way, if you are ever near Sagrada Familia walk towards the Hospital Sant Pau because you will find a lot of cute restaurants and gelato shops! I have realized this by just wandering around my new neighborhood, and have found a lot of interesting places so far. Overall, I am very pleased with my housing situation since my school is only a five minute walk away. I highly recommend, if you are interested in doing a host family, do it because you will get the best experience out of your stay. It not only forces you to learn the language, but also encourages you to eat their food, make new relationships, as well as helps you save money. Although many may say living with a host family isn’t worth it because you “dont get to be independent” and have to follow a few house rules, I definitely don’t agree. Yes you won’t be as independent due to the fact you have to let your family no when you are leaving the house and when you will return, but you still get freedom beyond that and they are almost always very flexible when it comes to meals. Most of the time if you want to stay out and have a late night, you can just call your family and let them know you will be skipping meals. Besides that, they usually don’t barge into your room, they always knock and respect your privacy. When it comes following house rules, I believe that this isn’t a negative at all because there will be rules in apartments too. For example, I can’t have a visitor come over at night and the apartments can’t as well, so honestly having rules shouldn’t determine your housing.
When it comes to an average day I basically wake up around 7:00 am to get ready and then I have breakfast with my host mom at 8:30. After breakfast, I walk to school and start my Spanish classes at 9:30 and then they end around 2:00. If you are looking for a great intensive language program look at UAB in Barcelona because I absolutely love the classes so far! The nice thing about classes is that they go by very fast because the teachers are constantly doing activities with you. I love the fast pace, since it definitely helps me stay focused. Although the classes may be fast paced, the professors will slow down if you need help, which is very important when studying a language. Since classes are Monday through Friday, I have time on the weekends to travel to other cities in Spain as well as other parts of Europe, which was definitely important to me when looking at different programs. However, some weekends I have excursions to different cities with API. For example, we just got back from the beautiful city of Mallorca, which I will definitely create a post about soon. Now on some days of the week I have field trips with my classes. For example, last week we got to explore the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona with a tour guide. Although the tour was all in Spanish, it still was very exciting to walk around this gorgeous historic center of the city. After classes, when I don’t have field trips, I usually go to the beach in the Barceloneta neighborhood or I find a part of the city I haven’t seen. My plan this week is to tour Camp Nou to see where the famous team plays!
Overall, I am very happy with my time here so far and am sad to think that I only have about two weeks left of the program. It is crazy how time flies when you are enjoying yourself.