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Adulting in Spain

Connie at La Sagrada Familia
Connie at La Sagrada Familia
Connie Balbuena
Public Health
Term Abroad: 
Summer 2018

Q: What made you decide to study abroad? Why did you choose your program?

A: I decided I wanted to study abroad after my first-year because I had an interest in gaining a better understanding of myself and the world around me. I choose to study at the Autonomous University of Barcelona because it is one of the top universities in Spain and offered transferrable summer courses.

Q: What was the highlight of your experience?

A: The highlight of my experience abroad was making great friendships with other UC students, international students, and local students. I did not expect to form these connections so quickly. We were able to explore different places in Barcelona and travel throughout Europe together which made unforgettable memories I will cherish forever.

Q: What was your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?

A: My greatest challenge was adjusting to Spanish lifestyle. I was not used to having “siestas” or having the largest meal of the day being lunch. I overcame this challenge by embracing these differences. Taking part in their daily activities helped me gain a better understanding of their culture as well as a new perspective in life.

Q: How did the coursework compare to UCM?

A: The coursework was similar to UCM. The courses were very lecture-based and involved group-work similar to some courses here. The coursework I received was reasonable and still allowed me to have time to explore the city.

Q: What did you get out of your study abroad experience?

A: My study abroad experience helped polish my adulting skills. I had to learn how to budget money, navigate the city, and build new relationships. My experience abroad also helped me become more independent and confident in myself. I also got to see another side of my major through the courses I took abroad.

Q: What advice would you give to a student considering study abroad?

A: My advice to any student considering studying abroad is to do it! I know it sounds scary and intimidating, but it is a wonderful learning experience you will probably never have again in your life. I would also recommend researching your program of interest well. There are many resources at UCM and the UCEAP website to help you make your decision.

Q: Describe a typical day for you abroad.

A: A typical day abroad would be waking up and meeting up with friends at the bus stop to get to class. Once in class, I would wait for our break to get a delicious light breakfast which consisted of coffee and a pastry or “bocadillo” (a small sandwich). After class I would meet with friends again and walk to the cafeteria to eat for lunch. Then we would catch the bus back to our dormitory and take a small siesta. We would then meet again to take the train to the city center, Plaza Catalunya, to explore Barcelona!