¡Hola amigos! My name is Joni, and I’m a student at Portland State University, right downtown in the city. I’m twenty years old and originally from California, but I moved to Oregon just over two years ago for school. I’m now going into my third year with the university, but from all the way across the world in Barcelona, Spain, and I get to have your class experience it with me! Here’s a picture of me, my coffee, and one of my favorite burritos (yum) at the Saturday Farmer’s Market on the PSU campus so you can get to know me a little better. I bet some of you have been to the market too!
I’m a sociology major, which basically means I study people and how we interact with each other and the world around us. I am grateful to have the opportunity to study abroad because I love traveling and seeing what life is like in other places. It encompasses a lot of my current interests, including art and architecture, people and social relationships, nature, history, photography, and food of course, as you can see by how happy I am about that burrito.
Right now I’m actually reporting to you from London, United Kingdom. My studies in Spain don’t start until October 1st, but I’ll be moving in to my apartment on September 29th and I’ll update you with some pictures from Spain first thing. For now, I’ll show you a few I took on my trip to Eastern Europe, and maybe you’ll be able to spot some differences and similarities between the buildings in these Eastern European countries compared to Barcelona in Western Europe once I get there. Maybe think about how it compares to Portland too.
I’ve never been to Barcelona before, but I have heard loads of good things and we can learn together. Barcelona is one of the most popular cities to visit in the whole world, number twelve in fact. It’s about one third the size of Portland, but has almost 1 million more people, so it’s pretty big! The city also looks a little different than what you and I are used to because it’s a whole lot older, and the beach is right there too, like you can see in the picture I put down below.
One of the parts I’m most excited about is the winter weather. I’m sure you guys know all about the rain in Portland, which isn’t my favorite. In Europe they use Celsius to measure the temperature instead of Fahrenheit like we’re used to. Barcelona isn’t as rainy or cold, and the average winter temperature is around 14 degrees Celsius, which is about 57 degrees Fahrenheit. It can get pretty hot in the summers, and is still 80 degrees right now in September.
Here’s a map so you can get a better idea of where I’ll be reporting to you from!
I’m really looking forward to living in the city because although I’ve traveled to a few other countries, I’ve never gone by myself or lived abroad like I will be for the next six months. I’m hoping to improve my Spanish as well, and maybe you guys can help me with that one. The official language of Spain is Spanish, but Barcelona is a little tricky because they speak two different kinds called Castilian and Catalan. I speak a little bit of Spanish, but this should be fun for me to practice while I’m there, and I’m sure I’ll have some funny stories to tell you about my mistakes while I learn.
My program is called ALBA, and has other students from all down the West Coast who I’ll be studying with. I get to take classes in Art and Architecture, Spanish, and Sociology. I’ll be going to school Monday to Thursday, so I have three day weekends every week which, is pretty cool if you ask me. I also get to live with someone I’ve never met before sharing a Spanish apartment, which will be fun because I get to learn about her experience as well. One of the most important things to remember when you’re traveling is that everyone has a story, and sees the world in a different way. Whether we’re in Portland or Barcelona, we can learn a lot from the person right next to us.
Once I’m in Spain I’ll update you with some more pictures, but let me know what you think about traveling, school, or anything you have to ask me in the comments. Have any of you taken any fun trips? Overall, I’m excited to explore the city with you and am open to all that the experience has to offer!