Home country: United States of America
New country: Spain
Why did you decide to move abroad?
I have never lived abroad before I moved to Barcelona. I had always done just touristy vacations abroad because I was in school. When I finally graduated college I decided I should spend time living, working and exploring another country. I choose Barcelona, because it was a good place to practice my Spanish, not too expensive and great culture.
What has surprised you most about living in a foreign country?
I am from a very small town in southern Virginia and I moved to a very large town in Spain. Coming from a small town where the only language that is spoke is English and I could drive pretty much anywhere within 10 minutes, it was surprising learning how to get around and getting comfortable knowing where everything is. It took me a couple weeks to figure out just where the local supermarket is, the best coffee shops, and the fastest ways to get around. My advice if you are moving to a new country is research a little bit about the neighborhood you are moving to and try to find all the necessary places before you get there.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss just knowing. I miss knowing everyone, I miss knowing where to get ice cream or where to go shopping. I miss being able to get anywhere in town with just a short drive. I think I miss the simplicity of my small town.
What are your favorite activities in your new town?
My favorite activity so far is just getting lost in the city. It's so big that I have been here for a month and every day I can find some new restaurant, plaza, art or architecture. Usually on the weekends I love to watch the sunrise at the Bunkers, then walk over to Park Guell. Both places you have great views and get a small workout. I like relaxing and reading at Plaza de Cataluna. There are many fountains and places to sit and relax. Also every night you can go out to the bar and clubs - it's always lively at night no matter what day of the week.
Any cultural/language barrier funny moments?
The first week I was here my Spanish was a little rusty so I was mostly speaking English. I was walking around the Gothic Quarter just exploring and stopped into a cafe to get an iced coffee. When I went to order, the woman realized I did not speak Spanish and refused to take my order and moved to the next customer in line. So I got back to the end of the line and when it came to my turn again I ordered, this time in Spanish and the woman looked very shocked but she did accept my order the second time.
I have been in Barcelona for about a month and I plan on staying here for at least six months. Since Spain is so easily connected by train, after completely exploring here or as much as I can, I want to take weekends to explore small towns around Barcelona - for example Costa Brava and Premia Del Mar.
Space of infinite possibilities
Moving abroad was no doubt one of the scariest but most courageous things I have ever done. I have lived with my parents for most of my life and now I'm here in a foreign country knowing almost no one and living alone. When you move abroad you really find out how strong you are - just be persistent with your efforts to find your place in a new city. Sometimes, a lot at the beginning, you are going to want to go home and just want things to be easier. As you start to feel more comfortable you will start to embrace the best parts of moving. Make it an experience of a lifetime because most people do not and will do take the risk you did.