Hola! Barcelona!

I want to study abroad during my time in college, but like many students, I am scared of missing out on football games (hook ’em), parties and activities with my friends. I am scared that if I leave during the fall or spring semester, I will miss out on inside jokes with friends and will be unfamiliar with Tri Delta’s new pledge class. That is why when I study abroad, I want to do it in the summer!

Fellow Tri Delta sophomore Emily Stephens had the same idea as me and spent summer 2013 studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. She was able to escape the brutal Texas heat by flying to Europe, where she experienced a new country full of culture, food and beautiful sights.

“I always wanted to study abroad because growing up it was on my bucket list,” Stephens said. “I decided to go to Spain because another thing I have always wanted to do was be bilingual with Spanish.”

While in Barcelona, Stephens studied through IES abroad and lived with a Spanish woman. It was this home-stay experience that gave Stephens the most practice in speaking Spanish and understanding the culture.

Emily and fellow Tri Delta Alexandra Vandiver at Barcelona's Parque de la Ciudadela in July 2013.

Emily and fellow Tri Delta Alexandra Vandiver at Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella in July 2013. This park includes walking trails and a zoo. (Photo: Emily Stephens)

“We would eat dinner together every night,” Stephens said. “And in Spain dinners are like an hour and a half, and you talk about everything and anything. By the time I left, I was legitimately said to leave her.”

One of the differences Stephens noticed between Spain and the US is how much more relaxed the people in Spain are. Stephens noticed that people in Spain are never in a rush, which is a far cry from the busy and hectic lifestyle most Americans live. (In fact, you are probably rapidly skimming this right now because you have a million more tasks on your agenda for the day!)

“[In Spain], there is no concept of urgency,” Stephens said. “Originally I was frustrated, but after a while, it was liberating. They just look at life so differently, and I like that.”

Not only did Stephens experience the sights and culture of Barcelona, but she also traveled to other spots in Spain including the Costa Brava and the Andalucia area. Also, Stephens traveled to Paris, London and Rome.

Map of Spain.

Map of Spain. (Photo: Google Images)

“My favorite [city] was probably Paris,” Stephens said. “We did a night cruise on the Seine and everything was lit up. It was beautiful. And the weekend we went, it was Fete de la Musique (Festival of Music). Everywhere you went, you heard music.”

While in Paris, Stephens got to witness a couple contributing to the "Love Lock" bridge on their wedding day.

While in Paris, Stephens got to witness a couple contributing to the “Love Lock” bridge on their wedding day. How beautiful! (Photo: Emily Stephens)

From her adventures abroad, Stephens believes she was able to grow more as a person and gain new perspectives on life.

“It expands your world view so much,” Stephens said. “You just look at things differently. [Traveling abroad] teaches you to be more independent.”

Stephens also visited the famous Park Guell, a garden designed by architect Antoni Gaudi.

Stephens visited the famous Park Guell in Barcelona, a garden designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. (Photo: Emily Stephens)

Emily and brother Ben take in a FC Barcelona futbol game - a favorite activity for many Spaniards.

Emily and brother Ben take in a FC Barcelona futbol game – a favorite activity for many Spaniards. (Photo: Emily Stephens)

Stephens makes a wish while throwing a penny into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy.

Stephens makes a wish while throwing a penny into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. (Photo: Emily Stephens)

Stephens and Vandiver make a Tri Delta triangle in front of the Tower Bridge in London, England. The bridge suspends over the Thames River.

Stephens and Vandiver make a Tri Delta triangle in front of the Tower Bridge in London, England. The bridge suspends over the Thames River. (Photo: Emily Stephens)

Are you planning on traveling abroad, too? If so, whip that iPhone or iPad out and download these apps from an article listing “26 Travel Apps That Will Change Your Life.”

Also, want to learn “25 Ways to Travel Cheap”? Read this article to find out how!

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