Barcelona, Spain

Shiri Cohen

ISEP Direct: International Student Exchange Program

Major: Visual Arts

Minor: Spanish


Study Abroad Blog Post #1:

Hola, my name is Shiri Cohen, and I am a rising senior at UMBC. I am majoring in visual arts, and I will be doing a study abroad program in Barcelona over the summer. The university I’m going to go to is called Universitat Pompeu Fabra. According to my Spanish friends, it is a well-known university that is considered one of the best in Catalunya, even though it was founded only in the 1990s. The program starts on June 27th; however, I’ll be leaving for Spain on the 21st because I am going on a trip to Madrid with my mom.

We are basically planning on going to all the art museums in Madrid because we are art enthusiasts. I can’t wait to go to Spain, especially considering I started the application process in October, which admittedly is kind of early.

According to what I’ve heard, those who apply for summer programs start the advising process at the beginning of the spring semester, but I always like being a few steps ahead of the game. As of now, I have almost finished packing, but I haven’t packed the most important thing yet: books. I know that we’ve been told in the pre-departure orientation not to bring heavy stuff, but to be honest, books are my number one priority. I am going to bring four books. Two of them are romance books, and one of them is a linguistic book. It is titled Comparative Grammar of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French, and it was written by Mikhail Petrunin. It is very recommended for language lovers like me! The fourth book that I am going to bring is called Hola Stanger. It is a Spanish book written by the director, Chloe Wallace. Anyway, stay tuned for my posts after I get to Spain!


Study Abroad Blog Post #2:

Hola, I’m finally in Spain! My program started yesterday. Although I have already moved into my dorm on the 28th, my class only starts on Monday (7/1). I actually got to Spain on the 21st with my mom. We went to Madrid first, and then we went to Barcelona, since this is where my program is taking place. I was very sad when I had to say goodbye to my mom because I miss my family and friends, and it can be quite lonely sometimes. However, I do my best to keep myself busy. I go out every day. I try to walk as opposed to using public transportation because I want to immerse myself in the Spanish-speaking environment. Today I went to the library in my college, the movie theater, and a Japanese restaurant. It is called Rammen Kummon, and it is highly recommended. The food is great as well as being relatively cheap. The Spaniards do not seem to mind speaking Spanish with me, which is also a good thing. I am happy that I get to practice my Spanish because it is one of the main reasons I am here. However, I do feel insecure whenever locals switch to English since they can hear my accent.

Additionally, in the morning, I attended the mandatory orientation for my program. It was very informative. I met many people who are also participating in my program (ISEP), but unfortunately, I did not have a lot of opportunities to speak with anyone. They are not going to be taking the course that I’m taking anyway. I can’t wait for my class to start so I can make new friends!







Study Abroad Blog Post #3:

Hola, this week has been crazy! Since the start of my class, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences. I had to find a means to travel to my school this week after learning that my class would not be held on the Pompeu Fabra University main campus. It didn’t really matter. All I have to do is take the train; and it’s a thirty-minute walk away from my dorm. My class is very interesting. It is called Barcelona on Stage: Documentary Workshop and is taught by Ricardo Iscar, who is a filmmaker who primarily makes documentaries. Even though this is only the first week of lessons, I’ve already picked up new skills like taking images that convey a narrative and viewing old films from a different point of view. In addition, I had the chance to go to La Oveja Negra, a bar in Barcelona, with friends this week before courses started, and we watched a game between Georgia and Spain. I had the amazing opportunity to join the locals in celebrating Spain’s triumph and chanting “ole, ole, ole.” When I told a local wearing a La Seleccion Española jersey, “Viva España,” later on my way back to the dorm, he responded in a very serious way, “always.” I believe that most people cannot grasp theimportance of soccer to the Spanish culture, therefore I was happy to have firsthand experience. Apart from that, I made two British classmates who don’t seem to mind if I try to mimic their accent, haha.

Finally, I hope you had a chance to watch me take over the @umbclife account on July 1st and share my journey for the day with you. In case you missed it, I believe you’ll soon be able to view it in the highlights!