Hi y’all, I’m Kerry and I am a Junior at CofC majoring in Historic Preservation/Community Planning, Business Administration and minoring in Urban Studies. I am currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, or UAB. UAB’s is a large public university and its secondary Sant Pau campus is located on a UNESCO world heritage site. The complex is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture and its original use as the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.
I am studying abroad through an affiliate program called AIFS, or the American Institute for Foreign Study. I chose an affiliate program so that I could study both of my differing majors and live with a host family. I applied to this particular program in Barcelona because of the city’s enormous collection of architecture, art, and its cultural significance. UAB and AIFS offered me the unique opportunity to attend class in a globally iconic building and use the “city as my classroom” in many of my courses. I also chose to be along the Mediterranean for easy access to travel, a warmer climate, and the benefits of living along the water, similarly to life in Charleston.
I researched Barcelona, the country of Spain, the Catalan region and language, history, UAB, and AIFS before submitting my applications. I attempted to understand the daily life of people in the city, the University’s sample syllabuses, and programs. I also researched AIFS as it was the organization responsible for providing me housing, excursions, medical assistance, and support for the 4-5 month span of my semester. I was impressed with AIFS’s organized presentation of information, their counselors, varied options for housing, and that they prioritized the diverse acceptance of an array of students. I have continued to feel supported, welcomed, and encouraged to do as much as possible during my time in Barcelona by AIFS.
One of my primary goals while studying abroad is to immerse myself in the Spanish and Catalan languages. “Catalan” is one of the official languages of Catalunya, which is one of the 17 regions that comprises Spain, and the region that Barcelona is a part of. I am focusing on this goal by living with an amazing host family that is slowly easing me into the languages through daily tasks and conversations. Secondly I want to become as much of “a local” as possible by embracing the overall Spanish lifestyle through differing meal times, customs, fashion, cosmopolitan routines, priorities, diet, holidays, and more! I would like to leave Spain with many local friends, as well as others from all over the world. Lastly, I hope to use the knowledge I gain from my courses at UAB to better understand the world through the lens of international business, Europe’s greatest works of art, and iconic architecture. My greatest aspiration is to become a more accepting, educated, open, and tolerant person to cultures other than my own!