2014 Fall Christin Teka CIEE External Programs Spain

Barcelona: Weekend Getaway

Everyday is an experience while studying abroad even if you do not do anything extraordinary. There is plenty to do on a regular day to keep you busy that a weekend getaway to relax and replenish your energy is useful in more ways than one. When studying abroad in Madrid in the fall, it is better to plan your trips as early in the semester as possible before it gets cold, especially when your destination has a beach right in the middle of the city! Barcelona, located in the north east of Spain, has a lot to offer to study abroad students like myself in terms on history and entertainment. In this blog, I will write about my weekend getaway and give you one more reason to study abroad if you are having doubts.

There is nothing more comforting than knowing you can take a weekend trip to the number one beach city in the world (according to the National Geographic Traveler) without breaking your bank. Barcelona is the 2nd largest city in Spain, the capital city of Catalonia which rich in history, architecture and has a diverse population. I spent my first day at Barceloneta, one of the most popular beaches in the city, relaxing and mingling with other tourists and local residents. Later that evening, we joined some of our new friends to enjoy a calm evening of their rooftop over looking the Sagrada Familia, a large Catholic church.IMG_3919



Javier Mariscal’s Funky Lobster

On our last day, we walked around the city because there was just so much to see on the streets. We ran into a couple of small-sized flea markets where many historical items were being sold and many of the vendors were happy to tell us the stories behind their items once we got past the language barrier. We then took a 90-minute cruise of the port over looking many different beaches and got a glimpse of the city from a different point of view.

My weekend in Barcelona allowed me to notice similarities and differences between these two Spanish towns. Both Madrid and Barcelona are big cities, which makes them both popular tourist destinations. However, personally I observed that Barcelona is more modern and offers a kind of hyper experience while Madrid still has that big city vibe, is more cultural and more conservative. I also found that many more locals spoke English in Barcelona than in Madrid.


Utilizing your weekends to the maximum is essential while studying abroad and studying in Madrid gives you an advantage in terms of location. I certainly enjoyed my trip to Barcelona and recommend it to anyone considering a visit!

Studying abroad gives students a unique opportunity to travel while in school and everyone should take advantage of it. It is simply the most eye-opening experience because it allows you to meet so many different people and view everything from a different perspective. I am slowly starting to understand how the Spanish culture shapes the Spaniard’s lifestyles and subsequently, I see how my culture has done the same for me without even realizing it!

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