While I spent most of my time in Barcelona, I did take a couple of weekends to do outside trips to other European countries. One of the best reasons to study abroad is that while you’re in the new country, you’re able to fly to other countries for a really affordable price. While I was abroad in Spain, I was also able to visit London, England, and Paris, France. Weekend trips are a great way to learn about another culture, and have a lot of fun, new experiences.
London was pretty much as expected: extremely rainy. You basically had to carry an umbrella any time you went out, because even if it wasn’t raining at the time, it was almost surely going to rain an hour or two later. While I was in London, I was able to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the National Portrait Gallery, and a bunch more. My favorite place in London, however, was the Natural History Museum-it had an incredible exhibit dedicated to dinosaurs, and a ton of huge dinosaur animatronics. Later that night, I went on a Pub Crawl with other people from my program, and got to experience the different London pubs. This trip was pretty easy because we didn’t have to figure out the metro system, since everything was walking distance, and, the people spoke English.
Paris was a bit more of a challenge. While Spanish and French do have their similarities, I can in no way, shape, or form speak French. So trying to figure out how to order things was a bit of a challenge. Also, figuring out the metro system was a big tougher. But once that was all figured out, we were able to freely enjoy all that Paris had to offer. Of course, we had a beautiful picnic lunch under the Eiffel tower. We walked the Seine River, and explored the city. We were able to tour the inside of the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral, and stand in awe of its beautiful stained glass windows. The best part about Paris for me, though, was the Louvre Museum. This giant museum, that would take days to go through, offered plenty of inspiration for my artist soul. While there was a ton of sculpture and artifacts, my main focus was visiting the paintings. Here, I was able to see all of these incredible paintings that I had learned about since I was a child (Mona Lisa) or in my years of art history classes. Most importantly, I was able to sit down, and just draw from the paintings. Drawing from masterpieces in real life is one of the best ways to practice. And the Louvre gave me a ton of time to do just that.
So if you ever go abroad, I would suggest going to as many countries as you can afford. They offer great new learning experiences and wonderful memories!