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Gia Bondi

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Eocnomics and Pre-Business with Spanish minor
Program: IES Abroad Barcelona Language and Area Studies Program
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Term: Summer 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I had previously visited Barcelona and knew I wanted to go back so that I could practice a little Spanish even though their official language is Catalan. I also really enjoyed the culture there, it's much more laid back most people are super kind, less crime. One of my biggest reasons too was I love soccer and Barcelona FC is historically one of the most famous clubs in the world I got the ability to watch the last game in Camp Nou (their stadium) for a year. Additionally, I watched Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba play their last game in a Barcelona kit before they came to Inter Miami. I have learned so much about the Spanish culture from my Spanish class and I wanted to experience it first hand.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I can do anything myself. I travelled there by myself not knowing anyone and made many friends. Also when hard things happened I had to deal with it with out my mother which was hard. For example, I lost my ID and got my phone stolen the first week I was there so I had to go to the police station by myself, bought a phone, then even had to get another phone by myself because that one glitched. I think people do not stress enough how hard study abroad is which is why you should research and be careful but now I am knowledgeable and want to do it again for a whole semester.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I watched the last FC Barcelona game of the season and Busquets and Alba's last game, who are legends to the club.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Research the country you are going to and figure out what is very popular occurrences such as crimes there. You should know when going to Europe you have to be very careful with your belongings or they can get stolen. Additionally, also what the culture is and how you should talk or interact with people.


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Being a woman I was definitely target more for pickpocketing or just trying to be taken advantage a little bit in the sense of stealing too because I am a young female tourist.


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Be aware you are a young woman and will be targeted a little bit more for stealing or pickpocketing.