Barcelona, Spain…How do I even begin?
Let me just say that this is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. Between the beautiful architecture, the orange trees (the fruit, not the color), and the beautiful people, culture shock is an understatement.
My first impression of the school is something like this: these kids are insane. The students are completely different from American students and, honestly, it’s just a cultural difference. At orientation on the first day we were told that Spaniards and Catalonians are naturally loud and just to expect it. Well holy crap. These kids are running down the hallways, standing on desks, and shouting every minute of every day. I have to give it to the teachers here because I was ready to pull my hair out on the first day of classes. However, on the second day of class I came to terms with their exuberant behavior and accepted my fate of speaking up louder than normal in class. Also, teachers have very few resources here and most teach exclusively from IPads. Four teachers created the curriculum for the school and every student accesses their lesson/homework from their IPad. There are only a handful of computers within the building and I’ve only seen two copiers.
While the school is not at all what I expected out of a Catholic school, I also did not expect the community to be the way that it is. In this area of Barcelona (Sarrià) many wealthy families reside. The people are nice, but very different from the U.S. For instance, my host family has a housekeeper that cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner; cleans the house; cleans the clothes; and picks up the children from school. My host parents have extremely time-consuming careers so the only “family-time” we have is during dinner.
Random bit of information: A classmate and I successfully traveled to Plaça de Catalunya and did not get lost! We may or may not have tried to get on the wrong metro, but hey, we made it home and that’s all that matters.