Spain: Discovering Barcelona’s Beauty

Submitted by Makenzie Beshel on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in London, England sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice…

Our program is coming to an end and I am glad that I can reflect on the past month and compare all of the different traveling experiences I have had. The past weekend, I stayed in Barcelona and was amazed at how much sightseeing we could accomplish within four days. Spain was like no place that I have stayed before. We stayed in a Airbnb with a family which enriched our experience because we could hear firsthand different things we should explore. I enjoyed being in a neighborhood and feeling what daily life was like for a lot of the locals, instead of staying in a hotel or touristy areas. In London, staying in a hotel with so many other students makes it feel a lot like being at school, or being home. I still noticed us sticking out because of our choices to not wear jackets in what we thought was warm, 60 degree weather. I was surprised how many people I saw bundled up in huge winter coats. I was also expecting that so many years of Spanish class would work to my advantage, but I was actually shocked at how difficult it was for me to understand and navigate. I have noticed that a lot of the public transportation in Europe operates with undergrounds and I am glad that I have pretty much learned how to use them with little problems.


I loved that while in Barcelona we got to visit so many places. We saw a lot of Gaudi’s work, and I learned that the Sagrada Familia is actually not finished. The part I enjoyed most was that each stop we went to was like no other one. We explored places that started out with older, traditional buildings and then two stops later we would be at Barceloneta Beach, or in the beautiful Park Guell, or in a small town neighborhood. I also loved how each city we were in was filled with so many small shops. Being abroad has been such an eye-opening experience. Learning new mannerisms and culture has been an unforgettable experience.

Barceloneta Beach
Views of Barcelona from Park Guell
The Sagrada Familia