The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Miranda Ciesol

¡Bienvenidos! My name is Miranda and I will be taking you to the most wonderful city - Barcelona - through this blog. I am currently a Sophomore majoring in Communications who hopes to bring you a little bit of Spain to your fingertips.
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.




I’ve officially survived my first week in Barcelona, a beautiful city that stretches from the mountains to the sea. It has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least, each day packed with overwhelming adventure. They definitely weren’t kidding when they told us that culture shock was real… so here are some things I have already learned in the short time I have been here:

1. Catalunya is not Spain.

Of course, technically it is, but Catalans see their region (Barcelona), culture and heritage entirely unique to that of the rest of Spain. Spanish is spoken everywhere, but Catalan is still the official language of the city and most maps, signs, advertisements and menus are in Catalan.

2. Eating hours change once you cross the Atlantic.

Lunch is the largest meal of the day and the time when most Spaniards want to sit down to a three-course meal, followed by a nice siesta when shops are closed from around 2-5pm. Then dinner is typically from 9 to 11:30pm. If your stomach can’t hold out till then, it’s common to snack throughout the day on little sandwiches and coffee. It was definitely hard to get used to at first but I’m really starting to enjoy this lifestyle.

3. Iced coffee doesn’t exist *gasp*

It’s true folks. Ice coffee is not common this time of year. If you order “café con hielo” in Spain, you are served two glasses: one with coffee and the other full of ice. It’s up to you to pour your coffee onto the ice cubes.

 And taking it to go is true American fashion.

Spaniards are in no rush. It is traditional to sit down at a cafe and enjoy your cup of coffee over a long period of time. With that being said, they call it “take away” coffee here, which only exist in certain chains like Farggi, and is frowned upon.

4. Eating out can be hard on the wallet especially with today’s euro exchange.

To avoid this, you can find off the beaten path neighborhood cafes that have daily deals. For 2 euros you can get a light meal of a sandwich and coffee or for 10 euros you can get bread, a glass of beer, a starter dish, an entree, dessert, and coffee.

5. Blending in is hard, but confidence is key.

Barcelona is a main tourist destination, and almost every Spaniard speaks English. Once they figure out you’re American, you are almost immediately treated differently. As if on command, they will speak to you in English, or hand you a menu in English without really giving you a chance to try out your Spanish. It’s a little discouraging but once I start to blend in and improve my language skills with confidence, I’ll get the hang of it and feel like a Spaniard in no time!

One week down, so many more amazing to look forward to.


Plaça de Catalunya
Plaça de Catalunya