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Student Profiles

Parina in Parc G├╝ell, Barcelona, Spain

Overseas Study Program

Barcelona,  Spain

While I was abroad, I was enrolled in the local university: Universitat de Barcelona. The classes I took here were my favorite because I had the chance to interact with native students and truly get the full European college experience.”

Parina Maniar

Majors: Spanish & Neuroscience

Term abroad: Fall 2014

Why did you choose this program?  of my main criteria for the program was that the primary focus was speaking Spanish. I was looking for a program that included full immersion in the culture, while living in a big city. The Advanced Liberal Arts Program in Barcelona provided just that.

Describe your favorite class(es) abroad. While I was abroad, I was enrolled in the local university: Universitat de Barcelona. The classes I took here were my favorite because I had the chance to interact with native students and truly get the full European college experience. I particularly enjoyed my Phonetics & Phonology class because the subject matter helped improve my Spanish speaking and understanding.

What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I lived with a host mother and a roommate from my program in an apartment, which was located just outside the center of the city. All it took was a quick metro ride to reach my classes, and I appreciated living in an area that was absent of tourists.

What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Have an open mind, and be ready to go beyond your comfort zone. Talk to as many of the locals as you can in order to gain the most from your experience and learn about their views, beliefs, and daily lives. Don't be a tourist!

What’s your best memory from your time abroad? One of my best memories was participating in a city-wide celebration with my host family and their relatives. This moment made me feel integrated in the city and the family.

What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? The amount of Catalan that is is spoken in Barcelona surprised me. It was an obstacle at times, but I thought it enriched my experience more than hindered it.

Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. I was surprised at how easily I adjusted. After a few days, I developed a routine and learned the basic routes from my homestay to my university. Reverse culture shock was similar; after some time, I had readjusted to the lifestyle.

“If I could do it over, I would…” spend more time with the students from Barcelona and make an effort to develop friendships with them.

What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I now know how incredibly large this world is and how important it is to be aware of this.

What do you wish someone had told you before you left? Push yourself to do as much as you can during your time abroad because it'll be over before you know it.

Would you recommend that future students take an internship and why? Yes, having an internship is another way to learn more about the culture and lifestyle.

What was your greatest challenge? Spending a whole semester without my friends and family from home was a challenge, but it was easier to manage than I thought.

Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” Go abroad. You'll return to a campus where nothing has changed, and you won't miss anything that could be more important than your experience abroad.

What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? Spain is made up of so many diverse regions that each place feels as if they have their own cultures. The "Spanish culture" is not homogeneous throughout the country.

How did you find scholarships for study abroad? The program with which I studied abroad provided me a scholarship, and I used the Overseas Study website to find a list of scholarships to which I applied.

Would you recommend other students pursue any specific scholarship opportunities? Apply to the Hutton International Experience Program, OVPDEMA, and your study abroad program scholarship, if you meet the eligibility criteria.