13 Goals while Studying Abroad
I feel like just yesterday I decided to study abroad once again, but this time in BARCELONA. As I look back at my last experience I thought it might be fun to set goals for myself over the next four months. Studying abroad is about experiencing other cultures, meeting new people and learning new things. It is very easy to try and stay comfortable instead of stepping out and being brave. For this week’s blog post I have created a list of 12 things I want to achieve while I’m traveling around Europe.
1.) Try as many restaurants as possible.
- I LOVE food so while I’m in Barcelona I want to try as many places as I can. Many times when I find a great restaurant, I get comfortable and don’t bother to go out and try more. When I am certain I like a place, I am hesitant to go somewhere new for a lesser experience. I really want to try and go out, try new foods and really take in all that I can during this semester. It also helps that my cousin is basically a professional foodie and sent me a huge list of all his favorite places. Get ready for lots of food pictures… cause they are coming!
2.) Take a cooking class in most cities I visit
- Because I have traveled to Europe the past two summers, I have visited most of the main tourist attractions. Instead of paying money for museums I have already seen I want to try spending this time to learn how to cook local foods. I’m talking about tapas classes, pasta making courses and anything else those cities offer. This not only will be fun, but it will give me knowledge to bring home for the future.
3.) Figure out public transportation
- When I was in Europe last summer I had a difficult time learning how to take the trams. One of my friends picked it up pretty fast so we all just followed along. These next four months I want to venture out and try and fully embrace to the Barcelona Metro system. In the last week I have started to understand it and now feel comfortable taking it places alone.
4.) Make friends with local students rather than other Americans studying abroad
- This semester I am taking classes at two different locations. One is the abroad school that I go to and another school is a local business school. Of course I want to be friendly with everyone but one of my goals is to try and meet Spanish students that I wouldn’t be able to meet in the states. This might be hard due to the language barrier but I’m going to try my best. How dope would it be to make friends with students who live in Spain.
5.) Bring my camera around and take a lot of pictures
- Over the summer I took a million pictures. You name it, I shot it. Because I was in a photography class and was forced to take and white about at least one picture from each day. Although it was sometimes annoying lugging my camera around, I was able to capture unbelievable experiences. During my first week in Barcelona I heard so many horror stories about students getting things stolen. This made me very hesitant about bringing my new Sony around. After a few days of getting zero pictures, I came to the realization that I paid a ton of money on a new camera so that I can take pictures, not so I can lock it up in my room. My goal is to try and bring it most places I go so that I can look back and have amazing photos.
6.) Try to speak as much Spanish as I can
- One of the hardest parts of coming abroad is trying to communicate with people. This semester I am taking Spanish, so my goal (might be my most important goal) is to try to pick it up and use the language while I’m here. The only thing that makes this difficult is when I order or try to communicate in Spanish, most people answer back to me in English. Over time I feel like I’ll get better but this is for sure a priority goal for the next four months.
7.) Journal everything I experience
- It’s been about two years now since I started journaling and it’s honestly been a game changer. I now have so many memories to go back and read. While I’m here I brought two journals, a travel journal, and a normal journal. My goal is to write in them at least 4 times a week. This might get a bit annoying at times but in a few years when I can go back and read details about this trip, it will be worth it.
8.) Stay in shape
- For basically the first time in my life, I have gone over a month without working out. After the marathon, I tweaked my knee and was forced to give myself a break. However, now that I am here I plan on picking things back up and working out harder than before. What I have learned is that traveling abroad is honestly exhausting and having an hour to myself throughout the day is a game changer. To achieve this goal I joined one of the best gyms in Barcelona and I plan on going 3-4 times a week. I already made friends with the personal trainers so they are not afraid to push me around a bit. The gym also came with a free body comp, which allows me to track my body from the start of the trip to the finish.
9.) Go to hole in the wall bars rather than touristy clubs
- In Barcelona, there are so many cool clubs and bars that are not common for tourists. Of course, there are the four main clubs but all of them are filled with American kids, getting drunk and pickpocketed. My goal this trip is to get out of my comfort zone and try new places with unknown faces. It’s honestly safer and will be a better experience.
10.) Study at different coffee shops
- Since I have been here I have seen so many cute coffee shops all over the city. In just the short walk from my apartment to school, I have already found 6 or 7 that I love. Although this is an easy goal, I do have some hesitation. During my last semester abroad I worked a lot in coffee shops and ended up getting my computer hacked from logging onto the free Wi-Fi. I am currently trying to figure out a way to prevent this, but that won’t stop me from going there just to journal.
11.) Find local stores and boutiques
- It doesn’t help that the first day I got to Barcelona was the day after King’s Day (a celebration in Spain that is similar to Christmas.) This meant that there were sales EVERYWHERE. This made is very tempting to go in and buy new clothes for the next four months. What I plan on doing however is saving all of the money that I would spend at chain stores, like ZARA and Mango, and saving up for something more expensive that I can only get in Spain. I already found a boutique jewelry store that I can’t help but stop in every time I leave the gym.
12.) Cook new foods that I am not used to making at home
- If you don’t know this about me, I’ve turned into the biggest home-body. One of my favorite things to do is just drink wine and make yummy food. This is why one of my number one goals is to really expand the food that I cook. Over the past couple of months, I have started to cook a lot, but most of those foods are very healthy and contain the same main ingredients. While I’m here I plan on finding new recipes, learning new things in the kitchen and becoming comfortable with new food groups.
13.) Travel, Travel, Travel
- In the past two years, I have visited Europe three times which means after this trip I probably won’t be returning for a while. In Europe especially it is so easy to travel from place to place so I am going to use this to my advantage and visit as many cities as possible. Although I do want to go somewhere at least every other weekend, I also think it is important to fully take advantage of Spain and see everything Barcelona has to offer. This being said my goal is to travel a ton while still enjoying my temporary home as much as possible.
So there it is, 13 goals for the next four months. I cannot wait to travel everywhere, document everything and keep you all in the loop.
ALSO, I apologize to my mom and dad because I just realized that not one of those goals had anything to do with school, haha oops.