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EF Stories: Francesca from Italy at EF Barcelona

We asked our students to tell us about their experiences: what did they love most about their stay abroad? What activities did they participate in? What would they say to those who are about to leave? Here's what they told us!
EF Stories: Francesca from Italy at EF Barcelona

My name is Francesca, and I was in Barcelona for 6 weeks (June 19 to July 30, 2022). It was one of the most beautiful periods I've ever lived. I cannot recall anything negative. In fact, I met so many people and had so many experiences that I believe it opened my horizons and made me understand that one can feel at home anywhere in the world.

Barcelona is one of the largest cities I've ever been to, and I discovered many new things even just by taking a simple walk. For instance, I found the tastiest churros I've ever eaten just because, while walking through the Gothic Quarter, we decided to stop at the nearest place. Moreover, you're never bored, whether it's a weekday, holiday, or Saturday night: there's always an excuse to celebrate there. It's a city full of culture, beautiful landscapes, and even more breathtaking beaches that leave you awestruck even if you walk by them every day to go to school or spend your afternoons there.

The activities organized by EF are numerous and very useful for making new friends during the first weeks. After settling in, I continued to participate, especially in the ones held on Sundays because we always went to beautiful beach places like Sitges, Platja de Oro, or Aguiblava. Then, after becoming familiar with the place and seeking advice from the staff, it became enjoyable to organize outings among ourselves; for instance, we went to the Tibidabo amusement park or the Bunkers el Carmel, a hill from which you can see the whole city.

One evening, some friends and I booked a visit to Montjuic (a mountain with a museum and a beautiful fountain). While a Brazilian girl, a Hungarian boy, and I were eating leftover pasta cooked the day before inside the residence, two Americans, with whom we were supposed to go, were waiting for us outside. Once in the lobby, we realized that the group had already left without us. So we decided to catch up with them; the only problem was that they were at a metro station away, viewing the museum garden, while we were going up the actual mountain, losing almost an hour between the metro and the cable car. We walked a lot among the trees, and once at the top, we saw a vast deserted palace. We realized we had lost our way, and as an Italian girl was sending me photos of the water show held every Wednesday evening, we descended the mountain, exhausted. Finally, we arrived at a local establishment; we entered to buy some water and discovered that the place overlooked a massive stadium; once seated in the stadium's seats, the Brazilian girl said: "life feels unreal, as if it has stopped."

The experience certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone. I admit it wasn't easy initially to be in a new environment without knowing anyone. I thought more than once, especially during the first week, about wanting to go home. However, I'm proud of myself because I've grown a lot: I learned to interact with people from different cultures and languages, and despite misunderstandings, they are friends who will always remain close to my heart, and I hope to see them soon. Even though I've always traveled since I was a child with my parents, this was a completely different experience because managing on your own requires great maturity. I believe I have acquired it, and I think I'm much more outgoing than before my departure.

The only advice I can give is to throw yourself into the experience; time abroad flies by so quickly that before you realize it, it's time to go home. So why not make the most of every single moment? Think about all the adventures to live, all the stories to tell once back in Italy, and how great it is to have friends from different parts of the world? It's a unique, unforgettable experience that brings out the best in us.

It will undoubtedly also make a big difference in one's resume because studying abroad isn't for everyone. Moreover, the language study approach is very different from Italy, where everything is more theoretical. So, having engaged with native speakers and having had a lot of conversations, I'd have an edge if I wanted to work abroad or generally interact with people from another country."

Note: This is a relatively direct translation to convey the emotions and experiences of the author. Some phrases might be slightly adjusted for a smoother flow in English, but the essence of the text remains intact.

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