- Make a Budget
This tip applies whether you are studying abroad for three months or six months. Since you will be in a new city, it’ll be hard at first to refrain from spending all your money on food, but try cooking at home instead of going out every night. Your budget should include groceries, rent, and money for traveling. Every budget may vary depending on how much traveling you want to do and where you want to live. Be aware that the grocery stores in Barcelona are rarely open on Sundays and make sure to look up the store times because there is definitely not a 24 hour Wal-Mart anywhere close by.
- Pack Light
Barcelona is a hub for fashion and clothes are a lot cheaper at most stores than the United States. Therefore, I would suggest packing as light as possible and buy your clothes abroad. Try rolling your clothes as well when packing to make more room in your suitcase. In addition, I highly suggest getting a backpacking backpack (I got mine at REI). They will save your life when taking weekend trips and you will not have to lug around a suitcase everywhere you go.
- Try/Do Something New
Whether it be food or wandering alone, make sure to try or do something new. Spain is known for their Paella, a rice dish that can come with meat or seafood, so try it at least once. Barcelona is a huge city with a lot of architecture and history; therefore, take a walk and get lost in Barrio Gótico or in Parc Guell. The narrow streets and the architecture by Gaudi will make you want to get lost for days, so enjoy and wander.
- Learn the Language
The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in the culture. Personally, I went to Spain knowing minimal Spanish. I can attest that I learned more Spanish in the six months I was in Barcelona than I learned French in the four years I was in high school. Although in Barcelona, many of the locals speak Catalan they still understand and speak Spanish. Thus, if you want to learn Spanish then take a Spanish class at the University and practice it as much as possible with locals even if it is with a cab driver or a local grocery clerk.
- Watch out for Pickpockets
Barcelona is known for its Gaudi architecture, but also for its pickpockets. Therefore, you have to be careful with your belongings. If you are a girl, then be sure to hold your purse in front of you when walking and especially on the metro. Another tip is to put your cell phone in your front pocket instead of your back pocket. The pickpockets are very sneaky especially in Las Ramblas and the metro. Also, be cautious when you are out late at night because that is prime time for people to steal your belongings. I would highly suggest that if you go out, then do not bring anything valuable because the percentage of getting it stolen is extremely high. As long as you are aware and careful, then you should be good to go, just be aware.
Son Quyen Dinh says
These are really good tips and totally applicable to general traveling abroad.
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Thanks for sharing this. I want to travel to Barcelona soon.
Soon, my educational tour will be of Barcelona. Thanks for sharing the tips; I will take care of my belongings from Pickpockets