The GoGlobal Blog

Month: February 2015

One month reflection and a weekend in Venice

One month reflection and a weekend in Venice

So this is a blog post all about how my life’s been twist-turned upside down.

I’ve officially been in Rome for an entire month! It feels like I’ve only been here for days, but at the same time it feels like I’ve been here for months. In many ways, the first month feels like a vacation. Plenty of other things in life only last a few weeks: summer camps, extended vacations, middle school relationships. But now that I’ve surpassed that one-month milestone, I guess you could say it now feels “real.” I’m here for the long haul…that feels unsettlingly short.

I miss my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my dogs, Loyola, and chicken salads with ranch dressing. I also miss Rome already. My carb intake is at its prime, I had my first exams last week, and I have to figure out my housing situation for next year from all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. I also have to finalize my major, about which I’m considering a last-minute change, by the time I come home from Rome. A lot of us here are trying to find summer internships or jobs, too, but have no idea where we’ll even be living over the summer. Steven, one of the SLAs, ended up taking a year off after his semester abroad to stay in Rome and work as an au pair. It’s surreal and terrifying – that could be any one of us.

I mentioned it somewhat jokingly with a Fresh Prince reference at the beginning of this post, but it’s actually true. Rome is turning my life upside down by showing me that there are infinite possibilities for what I’m going to do with it. It’s a wonderful and overwhelming thing. The possibilities are exciting and exhausting. I want to make the right choice, to take risks – but not too many – and to ultimately be successful. It’s a lot of pressure to shoulder when all I want to do is go lay in the courtyard, eat a blood orange, and soak up Rome’s winter sun.

That’s the truth you won’t hear too often from anyone who studies abroad. Yes, I get to do incredible things. But it’s studying abroad, not vacation abroad (though some people do indeed act like it’s a vacation). I’m still going through all the typical college struggles, but I usually opt instead to write about my crazy stories!

Speaking of crazy stories.

I went to beautiful Venice the weekend before last! Carnivale, a celebration leading up to Lent, was at its height. During Carnivale, people dress up in elegant costumes, don masks, and parade around the island. It can be best described as a classier, more elaborate version of Halloween. The attention to detail in some of the costumes is nothing short of astonishing – same with the immense crowds. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


carnivale 2

carnivale 3

The first thing we did was take a gondola ride. IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE. Our comedic gondolier, dressed in stripes and a beret, spouted out fun facts about the places we were passing and even hummed a little bit. He pointed out the fish market where Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp filmed scenes for The Tourist, as well as the palace where Marco Polo was supposedly born. We passed the Rialto Bridge, which was anticlimactically smaller than I expected.

Rome 4 042

We later explored Piazza San Marco and walked through St. Mark’s Basilica before checking into our hostel, A Venice Fish. I must say that the greatest stories from this weekend stem from our hostel experience. The guy running the hostel was a young dude with shoulder-length curly hair named Nick, born in Italy but raised in Wisconsin, with a fascinating life story. Nick showed us to our room through sliding doors, right off the main room. The seven of us girls took seven beds; the eighth was occupied by a friendly guy named Mike from Los Angeles.

We explored the city more during the day, going in and out of little shops between the numerous canals. We spent a lot of time searching for inexpensive Carnivale masks that would suit our distinct personalities and styles. On one street, I spontaneously decided to dance along to some accordion music. A tall guy in a dark mask took my hand and started swing dancing with me, right there in the middle of everything!

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In the evening, we attended the hostel’s dinner, which included all-you-can-eat pasta and wine. Afterward, we joined a large group that was going to a local club. Nick claimed the place was “authentic Venice” but it was really the worst kind of crowded and the worst kind of hipster. Still, the night wasn’t a waste. I met Jean from Brazil, who spoke only Portuguese and French. Since his English was poor, we conversed in French the whole night! I’m ecstatic that my five-plus years of French class have actually paid off.

Saturday, we set out to find boat passes that would get us to the glass blowing and lace making islands of Venice. With the massive crowds, and stopping in stores along the way, it took us several hours to even make it to Piazza San Marco. There, we had further difficulties buying our boat passes. We eventually made it onto a boat headed for Murano (the glass-making island), where we lifted our spirits with gelato and coffee.

After indulging, we perused the dozens of tiny shops, each filled with distinct styles and forms of glass. I bought a dazzling bracelet with matching earrings! The island was extremely calm and serene in comparison to the main island of Venice – it was exactly what the seven of us needed.  Fun fact: glass blowing was restricted to the island of Murano in ancient times to prevent glass blowing-related fires from happening on the mainland. Thanks, Rick Steves!

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Then we went to Burano and meandered through a few lace shops. The patterns were intricate and handmade with a delicacy you won’t find in the U.S., where things are sloppily mass-produced. Unfortunately everything started closing around 6:30 p.m. and the island got eerily quiet and creepy. We got on the first boat back to St. Mark’s. Our next objective was finding food.

Maureen led us to a Rick Steves-recommended restaurant next to the Rialto Bridge, where we enjoyed spaghetti, lasagna, and red wine. The streets were packed with the craziest array of costumes: everything from children dressed as Spiderman to a heard of bananas. We drank some succulent hot sangria in a little alley-cove next to a main street, while watching people walk by and jamming to the American music blaring from the Sangria stand. After a group of men dressed in priest costumes gave up on either trying to convert us or flirt with us (I’m still not sure which), we went back to the hostel. Insanity ensued.

Nick was taking a group of people to go out again; three of my friends and I decided to join. I mistakenly assumed we’d be going to Piazza San Marco to join the Carnivale activities. We walked for a long time, following the group past all the places we knew, turning right when we came to the edge of the island and traipsing down a long boardwalk that was suspended from the side of the buildings. At the end was a small bridge guarded by a stern looking and troll-like security guard who was doing bag checks. We riddled past him, wound through a building dotted with guards and police, and exited onto a pier, which held a colossal elephant sculpture and an enormously regal swan. The scene somehow proved that this was a big deal. There was a massive crowd gathered, but rather than tourists, it consisted of local Venetians and young students of all nationalities. It was evident we’d been given access to the real underground Carnivale party. Three lines later, we made it into the warehouse-turned-club just before midnight.

There were two rooms, each with a DJ. The atmosphere was wild. Music blared, accompanied by dizzying colorful lights, and almost everybody wore a mask. By the end of the night, there were people walking around in 10-foot-tall flamingo-creature costumes.

We made it back to the hostel safe and sound and crawled into bed around 3:30 a.m. Thirty minutes later, our fellow hostel residents threw a loud party in the lobby outside of our room. It made us all the more glad to check out the next morning.

In Calcio news, team Celeste remains undefeated! Ole!

Conciseness isn’t my specialty, so thanks for reading y’all. A dopo!

Gaudi, there sure is no place like Barcelona!

Gaudi, there sure is no place like Barcelona!

Wherever life takes you, just be there in the moment and take it all in. Realize the best dreams happen when you’re awake, even when you’re not prepared for them. Just go and know you’ll end up where you belong, trust in God and do more than simply exist. This is the life I’ve come to live. I’ve traded in the fast paced lifestyle for that of taking time to see the world and have been given one thing, a taste of the fullness of life, my greatest gift.

There’s no time to be bored in a world like this. There’s people, places, culture around every corner waiting for me to absorb it in. I get caught up in the kids popping bubbles at Piazza Trasevere, get chants stuck in my head from the Roma Soccer Stadium, and find a piece of myself a little more walking along the streets of another unknown city. I think to myself what a wonderful world it is and how lucky I am to truly experience it.

I learn constantly, about myself, my surroundings, the world, everyday. Through class assignments, such as my Italian Movie Project, I am forced to immerse myself in a culture completely. To attempt the language, hand movements, and warmth of the people around me. My homework is more than piece of papers, it goes beyond what’s right in front of me, making me leave my comfort zone and try something entirely new just to see where it takes me. It’s talking to people I’ve never met, speaking a language I’m starting to grasp, and inviting them to join me on my adventure even if only for a moment. These are my grades, they transform into my story.

The lessons of my classroom have become lessons of my life taught by people all around me with more than just the title of Professor. Although my teachers have gone above and beyond their job, I’ve come to get to know and connect to the John Felice Rome Center community. I have gained relationships with the chefs of Mensa (our cafeteria) knowing life behind their uniforms, have shared conversations and meals with the Director of our program, someone I admire and see as a great friend, and have grown to have a large appreciation for the people who operate these facilities. My Student Life Assistants do exactly as their title explain, assisting me in all manners of my life, becoming friends and mentors along the way. As for my peers, they allow me to be placed in an environment filled with authenticity, an emphasis on education, and full enjoyment of life that constantly keeps me going. The community here inspires me daily to not only see the world around me, but encourages me to change it.


With this newly developed mentality and positive environment, I have gone beyond my comfort zone, leading me to events, people, and places I never would of expected, including times where I traded in the field for the stands taking the skills I’ve learned in Calcio to root for the actual team! With a group of around 40 study abroad students in my program, I attended a typical Roma soccer game filled with more security than fans and cheered on the city I’ve come to call my own. I experienced first handedly the importance sports have on Italian culture and how teams tie with political and social views. Calcio, Italian soccer, is more than a sport played within a 90 minute time period. It’s a part of who the Italian people are. They see it as something that defines them. This just like many other things shows the passion of the Italian people and pride in all things that define them. It’s a rarity I’ve never seen among any other group of individuals, but hope to gain from living here.

 Getting to see Roma in this different light allowed me to appreciate the complexity of cities, leading me to the perfect destination next on my list, Barcelona. Flavor, passion, and rooted culture were discovered within every restaurant, street corner, and cathedral. The city represented more than the country of Espana, giving it’s own individuality as the Catalan people.

While walking the streets, one gets lost in the beautiful work of Gaudi, a man who envisioned more for Barcelona and took his talent to transform the city into what it is today. The streets, parks, monuments would be nothing without him. He made Barcelona and he was only one person. His impact on an entire city makes me think someday I can use my individual talents to do the same. This encouragement and inspiration was not something I only found in myself, but saw in that of others as they walked the streets of La Rambla and the coastline with me.


There was so much to take in during such a short period of time, but that never intimidated me. On top of walking more than a marathon around the entire city limits, I embraced the mentality that life is all about walking up an hour early to live an hour more, using the map in my hand to guide me and taking well deserved breaks enjoying the natural juices of the St. Joseph Market to keep me going.

Through experiencing this city, I recognized how the Spanish people make everything transform into something beautiful, whether it be the parks, monuments, cathedrals or benches on your way to the beach. They take art and give it a deeper meaning using that as a source to express their values and morals as a community. They added rooted heritage to their Catedral, celebrated their power in the world by creating the Font Magica at Monjuic and Arc de Triomf at the entrance of Ciutadella Park, embraced a new time of technology at Torre Agbar and Els Encants Flea Market, as well as, established a place for community at Park Guell and home of Gaudi. Everything was their own, traditional and authentic.

The Catalan people of Barcelona live in a way that everything will always fall into place, taking their history of a torn city to lay as the foundation of their current success. They take pride in their people, like Picasso, Gaudi, and Colombus who changed the course of history. The people of Barcelona weren’t just people their, they danced in the streets on Sunday morning before heading to mass at the Cathedral, sold authentic and natural goods in the markets, lived in apartment buildings found between the amazing Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, and passed the masterpiece of Sagrada Familia daily. They celebrated life everyday through their never ending night life and lived in a way where working as a team and taking your time was the only way to success. They showed things without every having to state them. That was Barcelona and that’s why I loved it.


I was fortunate enough to not only see the monuments, but the lives of the people, sharing my weekend with mutual friends who lived in the country and enjoying John Felice Rome Center students outside of the norm. It was an adventure I’d take again any day and have already set on going back in 2030 when a century of work is complete. The city changed my perspective, faith, and appetite, things I will forever take with me.

When returning from to my home in Roma, I realized the date. The setting around me and the people I share my experience with have made my enjoyment overcome the need of keeping track of time. It’s a blessing, but also a curse. I am now almost half way through this adventurous chapter of my life and can only hope that the days remaining come easy, the moments pass slowly and each road leads me to where I want to go. If I had one wish it would be that a trip like this could last forever, but I’ve come to realize that’s sadly not my truth, so I take in each breathe fully and pray that I’ll really live each moment because it’s the least I can do. I’m off like always to explore a new city and fall in love with my own all over again. I don’t know my next stop or lesson, but can promise you one thing, I’ll continue to mistaken my reality for a dream, if you lived my life, you’d be doing the same.


Adios for now,

Gabriella Lunich



Last week at UCC was the best week in the academic calendar– RAG week. RAG week, which stands for Raise & Give, is 4 days that are crammed with a number of events that all raise money for different charities. Events normally start around 10am and run until 4pm that any and all students can participate in. The on campus bars also open at 12:30 everyday and are packed with students from open to close. Walking into New Bar on campus, is just like walking into a night club– dimmed lights, blasting music, swimming with people, and flowing drinks– all at 1pm. This makes the general tone of the entire campus like a party. Some students participate in as many activities on campus as possible and some just use RAG week as an excuse to drink 24/7. But no matter which way you spend RAG week, it is for a good cause, so drinking that pint at 2 isn’t as bad when you throw a Euro into a bucket for charity while you drink it.

The table of the campus’s New Bar (the club is called Áras)

It is also important to note that Cork City is largely a college town, this means that it’s not just the campus that goes crazy when RAG week comes around– the whole city does. People who don’t attend college at UCC will come for RAG week, practically all of the pubs and clubs have some kind of drink deals during RAG week. We went into the city on Monday night at 10:30 and the line to a popular club was already around the block and the club didn’t open for another half an hour. The whole city seems to go crazy for RAG week, the week before RAG week we were in a cab and the cab driver spent half of the time talking about how people from the country come into Cork for RAG week. Each apartment in the complex that I live in received a letter from our landlord reminding us of some of the apartments rules and threatening serious consequences to tenants who break these rules, such as throwing eggs out of the window or at other buildings, tampering with security cameras and fire extinguishers, and so on. There would also be a security guard on the premise during RAG week instead of our usual night wardens. This letter made me wonder what has possibly happened in past RAG weeks to prompt this type of letter.

The letter from our landlord

So how did I survive RAG week? Did I even survive RAG week? Yes and yes. I actually only had one class all week of RAG week and that was my music class on Monday. My two government classes were cancelled because it was reading week. My folklore class had a story-teller guest speaker for one class and the other was just cancelled. This left me with a week for free time to enjoy this crazy cultural phenomena that is RAG. On Monday I shot clay pigeons with two other friends. I was horrible. I did not hit a single pigeon thus embarrassing my gun-loving American stereotype. On Tuesday, we watched some of the ‘iron stomach’ competition which consisted of the contestants taking off one of their socks, putting it over a carton of milk, and drinking the entire carton. Wednesday, my roommate and I woke up at 12:15 and some how made it to the color run at 12:30. Thursday, we went to the on campus bar again to watch some student karaoke. And Friday, I did not leave my bed. RAG consisted of a lot of dancing, borrowing roommates clothes, laughing, and a relaxing feel-good atmosphere that never really seems to be missing in Ireland. It was a week that I will never forget, and my liver will never forgive me for.

Marypaz eating a chicken roll– a staple of RAG week cuisine


Sadly, the end of RAG week brought me back to the harsh reality that I am in Ireland to go to school. As March approaches, I have major, assignments for all of my courses due. With papers and projects due every week, it is time to buckle down and get my study on. There are many silver-linings to a month of hard-work. The major one being that after April 2nd, I will have only one more paper due (a paper in my music class due on the 24th) and then I will be completely finished with class assignments. No finals for me, which means I will have practically 2 months to fully enjoy my time in Ireland and abroad. With many trips planned on the horizon, all it takes is a positive attitude, and lots of cups of tea, to get me through this month of work and to the end of the tunnel.

I should be quick to note that this month of work will definitely not be only work. This weekend I head up to Dublin with some friends and leave with one of my roommates from Loyola. My roommate, Alyssa, is visiting me over her spring break and I cannot be more excited to show her how I have been living here as she has been experiencing one of Chicago’s coldest February’s ever. Once she leaves, I have a weekend trip to Kerry planned as well as a weekend in Glasgow. The end of March also means a visit from a Rome-center friend, Allison, whose plans we are still trying to iron out. With so much work and play in my future, it is crazy to think how I will ever adjust back to life at home. It is safe to say it will be a more difficult transition home then it was to get here.

Thats all for now! More later!

Three Countries In Three Weeks

Three Countries In Three Weeks

Over the last three weeks I’ve checked London, Paris, and Barcelona off my list of destinations to visit while studying abroad, and it’s been an incredible time to say the least. I’m starting to gain a better understanding of different European cultures and the nuances that distinguish them from one another, and I’m excited to keep broadening my horizons during each weekend excursion. There are a few things that I picked up on while traveling to each city that I feel are important to note before going, and below you’ll find some tips, tricks, and suggestions on how to get the most out of your experience.



Paris was my favorite city yet, and spending Valentine’s Day there was really special. The Eiffel Tower is even more impressive than I expected, and it’s truly something I feel everyone studying abroad should get to see. Stay away from the food shops at its base – you’ll save about five Euro for the same Nutella crepe just outside the main crush of tourists. Make sure to take a walk to the Arc de Triomphe, and head down the Chans de Lise if you’re looking to get some shopping in. If hostels aren’t for you, take a look at the hotel options before you book an Air BnB. They’re normally less expensive and centrally located – I was able to find a place for about 100 Euro total for the weekend, which is not bad considering it was Valentine’s Day.


It’s glaringly apparent that the French are not very fond of Americans, especially when you eat in restaurants. Try your best to blend in, and keep the phones away during meals for the best service.


The Eiffel Tower in all its glory
The Eiffel Tower in all its glory



Barcelona has a few must see attractions for a weekend trip. The Segrada Familia was breathtaking, and even with scaffolding and cranes up due to its endless construction, it was a sight I’ll never forget. It’s best to purchase your tickets online before visiting, that way you can avoid the entrance lines (takes over an hour to get in).  Several of my friends attended the FC Barcelona game that weekend, and it sounded like a seriously fun time from what they described. Even if you’re not a soccer fan, it’s a cultural experience I would recommend (and wish I had done).

The tapas and sangria in Barcelona are an absolute must try, and you can’t go wrong with a few pitchers among good company. Local bars and clubs are a main focus in the area, and their pricing is manageable for college students on a budget if you do a little investigation on Yelp.


The front side of La Segrada Familia
The front side of La Segrada Familia



First and foremost, London is an incredibly expensive city. If you’re thinking of making the trip, be sure to pre plan and have your finances in order. Booking flights and accommodation well in advance will save you stress on the ground, and my friends and I learned the hard way on this one. Aside from the overall expense, London as a city is stunning. The architecture when lit up at night is beyond impressive, and the diverse nightlife gives you plenty of options to have a good time. The highlight for me was seeing the Wimbledon grounds. My friends and I had initially planned on just taking a look from the outside gates, but we were offered a tour for 10 Euro that gave us access to center court. I’ve never been an avid tennis follower, but the history and significance of the tournament made me appreciate each moment I was there. Once back in the city, I recommend taking a walk through Green Park on the way to Buckingham Palace, and then a stroll down Piccadilly Street. The atmosphere is similar to Times Square in New York, and if you’re lucky you’ll run in to the Chipotle in China Town (it’s better than America).


I’m learning a lot along the way during each weekend trip and growing accustomed to traveling internationally. This weekend I’ll be heading to Brussels, and plan on eating as many Belgian Waffles as I can while seeing what the city has to offer.


That’s all for now.



3 Reasons to go to Venice for Carnivale

3 Reasons to go to Venice for Carnivale

Two weekends ago, my friends and I journeyed to Venice for the last weekend of Carnivale. We braved overnight trains, the convoluted streets of that ancient water-logged city, and what we thought would be massive flooding. Here are some things I took away from that weekend.

Venice at 6 in the morning from the Rialto Bridge.
Venice at 6 in the morning from the Rialto Bridge.

1. The city is an experience unlike anything you’ve ever experience (unless you literally live on an island). Walking through thestreets, seeing people driving by in water taxis, looking at the way the city works, in its damp glory, is singularly unique in Italy, Europe, and the world.

A group of three costumed people tries to find the most elegant backdrop to  compliment their outfits.
A group of three costumed people tries to find the most elegant backdrop to compliment their outfits.

2. People at Carnivale go to lengths to get in on the experience. Due to poor logistical planning, my friends and I arrived at 5:30 a.m. while the city was still sleeping. Except, it wasn’t. We made our way to Piazza San Marco, cold and expecting to be bored for the next few hours, but what we saw threw those thoughts on their head. People were fully dressed up in their extravagant outfits at six in the morning. On top of that, there were innumerable photographers, tourists, and just general people milling around trying to get in on that spectacle.

The lady of the water
The lady of the water

3. Gondola rides. While this may be possibly the most cliche thing to do in Venice, they are worth it. However, what makes them so unique is not the fact that they are a fun boat ride by a man in a striped sweater who (if you pay him enough) might warble out some Italian tunes. What makes the ride so profound is the fact that there are no cars in the city – the gondolas and water taxis are the equivalent of our mechanical horses. We saw what it was like to “drive” through the watery streets of the city from the water. Yes, tourists and other people gawked at us from every bridge and vantage point, and yes, the ride was overpriced for its brevity, but what it meant was well worth the twenty Euro.

Go to Venice if you get a chance – but dress up, wear a mask, and be prepared to fight crowds every day.

Three Countries in Three Weekends

Three Countries in Three Weekends

The beauty of studying abroad is that you are not just limited to the country or region you are living in. With cheap tickets, budget airlines, and such a small continent, Europe is basically at your fingertips.

My first trip was to the beautiful and ancient city of Rome. I have been completely and utterly in love with Barcelona since the moment I got here but at the same time I was itching not only to explore another part of Europe but also to gain a little familiarity by reuniting with my friends studying at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center. My weekend was filled with arguably the best pizza and gelato I will ever consume in my lifetime, and of course, no visit to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Colosseum – that is if you can avoid the street vendors offering selfie sticks.  Through Piazza to Piazza, I also made it to Vatican City, for a breathtaking view of St. Peter’s Basilica at sunset. Although it’s not as cosmopolitan as I am used to, Rome has something truly special hidden in every corner.

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The following weekend I hopped on my first hilarious Ryanair flight, which really puts the “budget” in budget airline, with my three friends and flew out to experience as much of London as we could in three short days. Upon landing I instinctually greeted the man at customs in Spanish. After realizing what I did, I laughed and let out an internal sigh of relief realizing I would not have to worry about a language barrier this weekend. This was a factor that gave London a certain sense of familiarity, other than the fact that they had a Chipotle! The city was definitely much more of a hustle and bustle compared to Barcelona and reminded me just of a more refined and European version of Chicago. We saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, took a stroll through Soho and even tried fish ‘n chips! For a stunning 360 view of the city, my friends and I trudged the 311 spiral stair-cased steps of The Monument, and boy was it worth it. Although we didn’t get to see nearly enough of London in our stay, it was still incredible.

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Maybe it was because it was Valentine’s Day, but when I traveled to Paris the next weekend I definitely fell in love with the City of Love. I hadn’t been there since I was a child with my family years ago, but now coming back I have a new and profound appreciation for everything it has to offer. The Eiffel Tower was ten times bigger than I remember it being too! After taking the obligatory selfies on the Champs de Mars, and window shopping for things I couldn’t afford on the Champs-Élysées, I made my way to the Saint Germain neighborhood to see the Notre Dame cathedral. Following the River Seine, I crossed the Pont du Arts or more famously known as the “Love Lock Bridge” over to the Louvre. My last stop, and arguably most important, was at the famous Ladurée macaroon shop where I fulfilled my lifelong dream of buying my own box of perfectly colored treats (45 minute long line later). Everything about Paris from start to finish was memorizing; the scenery, the architecture, the food, the people. Now that I am back in Barcelona you could say I am a little lovesick!

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Whether you are taking in the Colosseum’s enormity, looking out over the London Bridge or walking along the River Seine and gazing up at the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, there is no other feeling like the sense of overwhelming appreciation that comes over you when you realize where you are and how truly lucky you are to be there.


Sitges Carnival

Sitges Carnival

Experiencing one of the world’s most famous Fat Tuesday Carnival in Sitges was breathtaking. It was a one in a lifetime experience. Having the opportunity of visiting the small city of Sitges and see its amazing architecture its a must to anyone around the area. Being part of the event allowed me to feel part of the Catalans culture, by carnival being a bit like Halloween in America it was fun to dress up and fit in perfectly with the locals. One of the best nights here so far! Even thought having a 9am class the next day wasn’t so fun.



Madrid Madrid

Madrid Madrid

My last weekend of January I spent in Madrid. Going to Madrid helped me learn about Barcelona’s regional culture and how they believe they are culturally different from the rest of Spain and most of the Barcelonan’s believe that Catalunya (region that Barcelona is in) should be a separate identity then the rest of Spain. It was extremely interesting to compare these two societies. Stating my trip with visiting the Royal Palace, the different plazas and learning about the importance the events that happened there in history, to visiting La Plaza de Toros and learning about its importance in history to society in Spain. It was has been a cultural education. With ending my weekend by visiting El Parque del El Retiro, and going nuts taking pictures of this once private royal garden, I could only imagine how one day I had to go back.

Hasta la próxima


Hola Amigos!

Hola Amigos!

Its been a couple of weeks since I settled here in Barcelona. From visiting Park Guell, Arc de Triomf, Las Ramblas, Plaza Espana, Montjuic, I feel like I still haven’t even explored half of Barcelona. I’ve been on unexpected graffiti tours, to going inside of some of Gaudi’s breathtaking architectural structures like Sagrada Familia, and Casa Milà ( La Pedrera), and exploring some of Barcelonas creative Caffe/bar locales. Barcelona offer infinite variety of activities. Absorbing all the culture that I can, i’ve been learning about things I would of never have imagined (like about how graffiti art has so much meaning and significance to the artists). With time going by so fast, I can only go on for the ride and enjoy as much as I can of it.

Till next time


Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s and Don’ts

Before starting your amazing journey abroad, being nervous of the unknown is totally expected. Starting off with what to pack, it’s extremely important for you to do your research about the weather in Barcelona. Known for its amazing beach life, one would imagine to bring spring/summer clothing. Much to my surprise January through the end of March are still pretty chilly. Barcelona may be in the south of Europe, but they still have some winter weather. Keeping in mind the luggage limits for your airline, it’s important to pack smart instead of packing more. It’s ideal to pack clothes that can be mixed and matched, and especially bring layers. Barcelona can be very cold in the mornings but by the afternoon the sun tends to be almost hot.

Once settled into Barcelona after the extremely stressful process of packing and flying in, and finally across the globe with a bit of jet leg, it’s time to explore the beautiful city of Barcelona. Of course the first thing you want to do after your first steps here is walk on the the sand of the Mediterranean sea, and try Spain’s famous Paella. But DO NOT eat the paella on the beach!! Don’t eat at any restaurants with pictures of paella outside their doors. From my experience and advise of our orientation leaders, those restaurants usually have frozen paella, and not the original fresh cuisine that you are expecting. Paella takes hours to cook properly, so typically only the pre made and frozen versions will be sever along the beach. Save your paella adventures for something home made or in Valencia, the true home of paella.

Also, eating hours here are insanely different, lunch is served at 2pm and dinner usually at 9pm. So don’t be expecting restaurants to be open till at least 8pm. Keeping in mind that water is not free here. As like the rest of the world except for North America, water is charged, and is against regulations to give customers water from the faucet. Occasionally you will find places where the water is free with your alcoholic drink or juice, but do not assume it is free.

Abrazos 11012259_948143558530628_1234252951_n