Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guest Blogger - Jay Tan

¡Hola! ¿Como están? I am Jay (remember I did a brief introduction about Chicago Study Abroad Program few months ago? ) , currently enjoying my study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain. I am here to share with you my experiences here in Barcelona so that you all will have a better insight of what the program can offer you.

When I first arrived in Barcelona, I was not really happy. In fact, I started to complain about every single thing that I could – from the accommodation, transportation, classes and etc. I guess home-sick must be the main culprit behind all my endless complaints. However, as days passed by one by one, I started to love this place more and more. And now, I am actually feeling quite sad that I am actually leaving this beautiful city as my program is going to end in merely 2 weeks time!

For Barcelona Study Abroad Program, all the students were pampered as we are provided with hotel lodging for the entire 3 months. The location of the hotel is awesome , 3 minutes walk from Plaza Catalunya , the central part of Barcelona. With that said, we have someone cleaning our rooms, making our beds and cleaning our toilets every day. Yes, EVERY DAY. This is probably one of the best incentives of joining the Barcelona Study Abroad Program. For anyone who loves to shop, you will definitely fall in love with this place – Zara, MNG, H&M, Bershka, TopShop, Pull and Bear and etc are all around you in Plaza Catalunya. Besides that, for those who love to have great night life, Barcelona definitely offers you one of the best night life experiences you could ever imagine.

#1: Our Hotel Room
In terms of classes, we have all our classes in Universidad of Pompeu Fabra, which is about 30 minutes walk from our hotel. If the weather is bad (or we are just too lazy), we will then take the tram and metro train which will take only about 15 minutes to reach the university. We have our civilization classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9.30am till 12.30am. Besides the civilization classes, we also need to take a Spanish course. We are divided into three different levels based on our command in Spanish in order to make things easier for the Spanish instructors. If you are a native Spanish speaker or have mastered the language, fret not because you can opt to join Catalan classes organized by the Universidad of Pompeu Fabra.

We also had a few excursions around the Catalunya area organized by the Barcelona Study Abroad program and everything was included the program fee that we paid. So, no extra cost involved! Besides excursions, the program also flew us to Madrid for a short weekend trip. The main purpose of this trip is to see the famous painting of “Las Meninas” in the Museum of Prado. Together with a few friends, we took a train from Madrid to Toledo for a one day trip. And trust me, Toledo is probably one of the prettiest cities I have seen so far! It is so different from any other cities in the world.

# 2: Madrid
# 3: Park in front of the Palacio de Real

# 4: With the famous bear statue at Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Barcelona Study Abroad Program has been a really great program so far. It is so nicely organized and well-planned. Kudos to the officers in the UChicago Study Abroad Office. Through this program too, I really learnt a lot of new things which have definitely widen my horizon of life. I believe this Winter Quarter 2010 will be my best ever quarter in my entire 4 years of education in UChicago because of this program. And lastly, of course, I would like to thank Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) for their academic grant which has made my participation in the Barcelona Study Abroad Program possible! Thanks!

Some pictures to be shared:-
# 5: Montjuinc

# 6: Barceloneta

# 7: Park Guell (the famous park by Gaudi)

# 8: Arc de Triomf

# 9: Plaza Jaume I
# 10: National Palace

# 11: National Palace (back view)
# 12: Catching a game of the best soccer team in the world, Barcelona!

If anyone of you have any questions regarding the Barcelona Study Abroad Program or the UChicago Study Abroad Program in general, please feel free to email me at jaysern@uchicago.edu. ¡Hasta pronto y adios!