“Singapura” is a Sanskrit word meaning “Lion City,” yet another example of Singapore’s ties with the neighboring South Asian region. My first days spent here in the “Lion City” have been nothing short of incredible, but out of all the places I’ve visited and things I’ve done, three moments in particular stand out in this early courting phase with Singapore.
1) “City Tour”
I am down to my final days in Barcelona (BCN, or Barna as the locals sometimes refer to it)!! Where oh where did the time go? Looking back on my time in BCN, a lot happened in four months, but there is still so much left to do. I will definitely return to BCN and Europe one day soon, both to travel and hopefully work here. Four months is not an adequate amount of time to fully immerse oneself in Europe. There is too much history to learn and culture to explore– food to try; architecture, art, and photography to admire; and languages to speak. In four months I have certainly dabbled in the cultures of several countries, and I feel very comfortable in BCN. But I want more time. I suppose everyone does. (Side note: In my Spanish Art and Culture class I learned that Americans loved Dali’s melting clocks paintings [see picture] because according to Dali, Americans are obsessed with time. They want to maximize their time to maximize their profit.)
Final exams and papers are due this week at ESADE! Within the past two weeks my five classes ended, two of which required group presentations for the final classes. In addition to the online finance course I took through McIntire, I took 5 classes at ESADE, a mix of business and humanities courses:
- Marketing in Spain: introductory marketing class, but in the context of Spain. I had an interesting group project in which I came up with a new product to introduce into the Spanish market. I conducted the entire marketing process from research to “implementation.”
I love living in Barcelona! I feel so comfortable here, navigating the city via metro, walking when the weather is nice, visiting my regular restaurant and bakery. People are friendly, the area is safe, and I learn something new about Barcelona and myself every day. I have developed a routine and I feel comfortable sticking with it, but I also enjoy changing plans last minute, trying out new sites, restaurants, etc. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to avoid getting too comfortable because my time here is limited. But I think the finality of my semester inspires me to take advantage of everyday.
After having visited and spoken with several UVA students also studying abroad in Europe, I have come to realize how lucky I am to attend a school that places so much importance on integrating its international students and making them feel welcome. My primary goal in choosing to study abroad was to learn the language and culture of France by immersing myself in French student life, something that would have been much harder to do without the support of my host university and student body, I now realize. It is all too easy to stick with the English-speaking crowd, especially when there are over a hundred English-speaking exchange students and when studying in a foreign country whose language you are not completely fluent in. Meeting new people is a lot of fun, but introducing yourself to people, whom you cannot effortlessly communicate with, can be extremely exhausting and at times frustrating.