College Life: Study Abroad Edition 

IMG_0876

Kelli Carter ~ Staff Writer

     Every year more than 300,000 students leave America to start their study abroad Journey. About 10 percent of college students will study abroad at some point in their college career. This allows for students to feel immersed in the culture that they are living in and better understand it. As students are in the country of their choosing there comes a time when they start to  feel at home. Here are four stories of when students in Barcelona felt like they were home. 

     Abby Owen, a sophomore at the University of Texas, has lived in 2 countries in her lifetime. She grew up in Mexico then moved to the states when she was in middle school. She has also gotten used to calling places that she lived in her home. Owen has had many places to call home but now she is a Student in Barcelona.

     Owen said, “I still feel like I’m kind of adjusting to living here, and I think a place feeling like home can be a process that could even take longer than 4 months. But, there were little things that did make me feel like I was really living here and not just visiting.”

     Owen then goes on to say, “For example, figuring out the metro system and taking it to school and back made Barcelona really feel like my home. Also, having my own routine and becoming aware of the city’s routine and habits over time makes me feel much more established. I hope that by the end of my 4 months here, it will feel even more like home and somewhere that I established myself.”

     Owen chose to study abroad because she thought that it would be a great opportunity to meet new people and make new memories. She then chose to study in Barcelona because she wanted a big city, a place to practice her Spanish and wanted to be close to other European cities so she can go on weekend trips. 

     Michelle Britt, a junior at Ithaca College, chose to study abroad with a group of her friends. Unlike Owen,  Britt went into her study abroad experience already knowing people which in a way made it already feel like something she was used to and made it easier to make Barcelona feel like home. 

     She chose to live in an apartment because she wants to stay close to her friends but she has also been making friends at her program and when she goes out to eat. She always knew that she wanted to study in a big city like Barcelona because it is very similar to New York and she just really enjoys the culture the last two times that she got the chance to visit. Her sister also studied in Barcelona and told her all about her experience which made her want to come even more.  

     When discussing when was the moment that she felt at home she said,  “I love cooking and making food for myself but when I go out back in New York I love finding good vegetarian restaurants. You can say that the moment when I felt like home here was when I found Flax & Kale. When I do not feel like making a meal for myself this has become my go to restaurant. This has honestly made Barcelona feel more like my home and not just a place that I am visiting.”

     As a study abroad student as well who is a vegan, finding a place where I can eat helps to make me feel like the city I am in feel more like home. Both Britt and I have had special diets for a while and being able to find a restaurant or multiple makes us feel at ease. 

     Emma Earl-Loft, a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, chose to study abroad without knowing anyone at all. Like Owen she wanted new memories and to meet new people. Her family highly encourages study abroad due to the fact that her parents actually met when her mom was in Denmark on her study abroad. One may say that she is a product of study abroad. 

     The first time that she felt like this place was home she said, “I was sitting in a coffee shop near where I lived and just doing homework. Then I started to realize that this coffee shop reminded me of the one I would always go to with my friends after classes to do homework at back at school. This moment was kind of like an aha moment because it just hit me right then in there that I’m living here now and this is not just a weekend trip. All of this is real. I most definitely feel like this was my moment when it just hit me that this place is now home.”

     Loft, like many other college students, has a place where she loves to do her homework. For her finding this coffee shop helped her to focus but also feel comfortable while working. She also chose to do her study abroad in Barcelona because she wanted something different. She was born in Denmark so she knows that area very well and she wanted somewhere warm. 

     Delaney Liebforth, a junior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, wanted to do something exciting before she graduated next year. She feels like doing a study abroad would be a great opportunity for her to learn more about a specific culture and just to make more friends. Liebforth, like Britt already knew people going into this experience but chose to do a homestay with random roommates in order to become more immersed into the culture. 

     Liebforth said, “When I first got here it was a culture shock because I knew only a little Spanish and my homestay mom would only talk to us in Spanish. It was hard so I started to go on hikes and to parks with friends and my roommates. On these hikes I felt the most relaxed and connected to nature. I would look over each edge and think about how beautiful the world is and how I loved to hike back home. These simple moments of just walking around in parks or hiking really remind me of home and what I would do when I was stressed out.”

     Liebforth knew that she wanted to study in Barcelona to get better with her spanish but also because of It is  a city that is very close to the mountains and beautiful parks. This was top of her list when looking for a place to study. Now she considers this place to be home because of it. 

     Studying abroad is such a great experience to help broaden a student’s mind. Yes they might be homesick at the beginning of it, but just like these four students they will find something that will just click. Something that will make the country that they are in not feel foriegn anymore but just feel like their new home. As a study abroad student myself I have realized some of the normal things like entering a train, giving someone directions have helped or even just trying my best to speak Spanish has made this place barcelona my home.