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Natalia Karolewska, a BA English student, completed her year abroad in Barcelona, Spain. She shares her journey including the challenges and successes, highlighting the benefits of doing a year abroad.

Doing a year abroad was nothing more than a sudden and impulsive decision that I made whilst scrolling through my university email last October. With sudden influx of COVID restrictions, looking back, I am forever grateful for being impulsive and deciding to sign up as my time here in Barcelona has been one of the best experiences, allowing me to meet so many interesting new people and getting out of my comfort zone.

Barcelona Cathedral

COVID-19 was a serious issue that posed an uncertainty of whether or not I would actually be able to go abroad. As the months went on and I continued to receive frequent emails from my Spanish university, I came to the realisation that this is something that will actually happen, and I need to start thinking about courses and accommodation! Picking courses was simple enough and I decided to try something new. Choosing to study economics as a literature student has definitely been a challenge. However the real obstacle was finding safe and secure place to stay, but through a lot of research and talking to other Erasmus students I was able to find a good room in a fantastic central location!

I would consider myself very lucky, as upon my arrival in my apartment I was greeted by another Erasmus student who I soon found out was also here for a whole year! I quickly got acquainted with her and it was only a matter of days before we became friends, I remember on my second day we met other international students and after this initial meet-up we met up for a volleyball session at the beach where we met even more internationals and the rest became history. Just like that I had made an amazing friendship group with whom I had made all of my future plans and trips. I will always cherish them and the memories that I was able to form with them. Luckily, I was able to make friends with  the locals, knowing they would be with me for my entire study aboard experience.  

Mont-Rebei canyon

Once I had seen all of your typical tourist attractions I realised just how much I could really explore. Barcelona has excellent transport links and is very close to the French border, thus this is something that me and my friends took full advantage of by going to the Pyrenees, Costa Brava, Ibiza and the Mont-Rebei canyon for a great price! 

Overall, I can’t emphasise enough just how much I’ve enjoyed my time here and I can’t wait to see what the second semester brings. I would urge anyone who has the chance to go on a year abroad as it really will be the best year of your life.

Blog post written by: Natalia Karolewska