The last few days have been university induction days and sorting things out days – it took us until this afternoon (day 4) to even put a foot on the beach which is just a minute from the apartment because of everything we have been sorting out and doing!
On our second, but first full, day in the city we signed up to the UPF Erasmus welcome week which is a week full of activities to meet other international students, we have a wristband to get into places for free and an Erasmus membership card. From what we gathered from speaking to the other international students, nobody knew very much about what was happening with timetables, courses or inductions. We weren’t the only ones, pheeew!
By the end of day two though we all had an induction timetable, which is a start! So on Tuesday morning (day 3) we walked to the main university campus which is less than 20 minutes away for our very first experience of Universitat Pompeu Fabra!
It is a beautiful university – clean and minimalistic with great big open spaces! We went to the auditorium along with the other 368 international students and listened to talks about the university itself (number 25 in the top universities under the age of 50), the language courses available, keeping safe in Barcelona and how to log into the computers and use the library. The talks were in a mixture of English, Spanish and Catalan so everyone understood.
We now have leaflets everywhere explaining all of these things and about a million maps of the city (which still doesn’t stop us from forgetting them whenever we leave the apartment….)
After three hours of being talked at we were split into our campus groups and taken for tours – it is just typical that the journalism and communications campus is the furthest one away from our apartment! I am talking a 50 minute to an hour walk away.
But, the Poblenou Campus where we will be based most of the time is INCREDIBLE! Everywhere (in the university) seems so easy to navigate around and again it is clean, minimalistic and has these great open spaces with students just chilling about. I don’t think I will ever get used to how laid back everyone is here…
However, we had to find our own way back…which was interesting…in the end we took the tram because we knew roughly where a close stop is to Barceloneta. Even then we had a trek back, in which I found the hotel where my Mum and Dad are booked into in 10 days’ time!
We will be back there tomorrow for our faculty induction and again next week starting lectures, I think we are going to have to find the best way to get there otherwise 9 o’clock lectures are going to be fun to make on time!
Back to Tuesday though, that night we were supposed to be meeting the international students at a restaurant just of La Rambla at 8.30 pm, and although we left at 8…we didn’t get there until just after 9 pm – the city centre of Barcelona is confusing. I think I am too used to Glasgow’s criss-cross streets which are easy to navigate around!
But, after walking around in circles, literally, we made it to Restaurant Campechano for a ‘speed-friend’ event where we were lined up facing each other and had 3 minutes to talk to the person in front of you before moving on. Although it was quite fun, it was tiring and my voice was sore from shouting over the top of other people so we could hear each other! Even then, most people didn’t understand my accent and the others just thought it was really cool. Shannon had someone tell her she sounded like Cho Chang from Harry Potter and kept asking her to say different phrases over and over.
I met lots of different people though, from all over the world such as Canada, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Germany, France, England…and only one other person from Scotland! That brings us to a total of five that I have come across (including myself and Shannon!)
There are supposedly 70 people from the UK on exchange at UPF so I am sure there are more than five Scottish people!
After the speed-friending we got the metro back to the apartment, first of all getting on the wrong one which took us the opposite direction, and then eventually on the right one!
Whilst on the metro and boy got on and looked at me like he knew me, I thought I recognised him from the speed-friending so I said hi and waved, to which he looked a bit confused. I then proceeded to ask him where his name badge had gone (we had to wear name badges) and then he thought I was asking him his name! I was crying with laughter at my mistake so much that I couldn’t even explain, and Shannon had no idea what was happening so she was laughing at me too!
Speed-friending is clearly not for me. Especially since I can’t even remember the people I spoke to!
Day 3 was a good day; we finally met some other international students and now know a lot more about the university.
This morning I went to university to an induction lecture about the history of Barcelona, it was really interesting! I think if there is a module in it that doesn’t clash with my own, then I’d like to take it.
Barcelona started off as a Roman city, but not a much loved one. It was used as a stopping off point for sailors. Now it is a very popular destination and many people travel here to work, study and holiday – its biggest competitor in Spain is Madrid.
I also found out that the area I am staying in was built for the people who used to live in another part of the city that was demolished to create a park (which now has a zoo in it.) Barceloneta was man made so the streets are very straight, neat and close together to fit more people in. I can agree with that, it wouldn’t take much to touch the balcony opposite our own!
I can’t wait to show off to my visitors all my Barcelona knowledge, so I will keep it under wraps just now.
Today I have also taken a lot of photographs, taking my camera for a walk along the promenade by the beach and through the streets on my walk to university. I will upload them to the Flickr as soon as I possibly can!
Nothing can be done about courses or our timetables until tomorrow so this afternoon Shannon and I went to the beach for the first time since arriving and I had a swim in the sea. The beaches here are man-made which means they are clean and you can swim without seaweed grabbing your ankles. It also means they are very busy, and full of tourists!
Living next to the sea means a swim isn’t far away and neither is a warm shower afterwards!
Tonight we are heading to a club called Razzamatazz which is meant to be very good, all the Erasmus students are meeting there and our bands get us in for free. Shannon is also desperately trying to find somewhere that is showing the Celtic game, I think it will be a lost cause though since there is a Barcelona game also on tonight!
I finally managed to sort out a Spanish mobile number and bought a really cheap old phone – going to be a retro few months using it! Now I will be able to contact all these new people I have been meeting.
I can’t wait for visitors to come out, my friend Rebecca arrives on Friday for five days so I am holding off the touristy things until she gets here, and then my parents and younger brother arrive a week on Sunday. I know they are going to love it!
In 21 days though, Cameron is coming! I have never missed somebody so much in my life and I am so glad of the internet so we can talk. The countdown begins…
All in all though, Barcelona is cool and I can’t wait to get stuck into my course next week – you have got to keep busy!
P.S. I have been practicing Spanish in little bits, by December I will be blogging in another language (kidding!)