Hola From Barcelona
While many Division I athletes are simply not afforded the ability to have an abroad experience due to year round athletic commitments, the beauty of Dartmouth and its "D-plan" is that it allows many of its athletes to take a term to study abroad. This winter term, my teammates, Patrick Murray '14, Stoian Nedelchev '13, and Colin Skelly '14, and I (Justin Rosner '14), have taken this opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain.
We arrived in Spain during the beginning of January and will be here for a total of ten weeks - until mid March. As soon as we arrived, we were thrust into the wonderfully different culture of Barcelona. We quickly learned that in Barcelona everything seems to always be happening much later than usual. For example, lunch doesn't happen until about three or four in the afternoon, and dinner doesn't occur for many until nine or ten o'clock at night!
We are all living right off of "La Rambla," which is one of the busiest, most popular streets in the entire city. While the many restaurants and stores that line the street are a huge benefit to our everyday lives, perhaps the greatest thing about our location is its close proximity to "La Boqueria" - one of Spain's (and Europe's) largest outdoor markets. La Boqueria, which is literally less than a minute walk from where we live, is overflowing with every type of fresh food one could think of, from fresh seafood to meats, cheeses, chocolates, gelato, and everything else in between. While we spend most days near La Rambla, we have also managed to see much of the rest of the city and its sites. We have seen Casa Batllo and La Sagrada Familia, both well known works of Spain's greatest architectural genius, Antonio Gaudi. Some of the guys also managed to make it over to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona's home stadium, to watch FC Barcelona play Real Madrid in their Copa Del Rey match last month. We have also taken some day trips to nearby cities to see such things as the Salvador Dali museum and to hike Montserrat, a beautiful mountain well known for the monks that live there year round.
While there has been much to see in Barcelona and nearby, our travels have also taken us outside of Spain. So far, among the four of us, we have managed to travel to France, Italy, Scotland, Switzerland, and Holland. We've gotten chances to see such things as the Coliseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the Vatican.
During the week we attend classes just a ten-minute walk across the city from where we live. Among the four of us, we are studying a wide range of topics, from international economics and Spanish film to Spanish geography and culture. We have also been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to train with a local Spanish club on the outskirts of the city each week. While it is great to receive proper training each week to stay in shape, perhaps the greatest benefit has been our exposure to the Spanish that is spoken on the field during practice. Undoubtedly, the things we have learned from training with this team go beyond just soccer.
With just a month left over here, we plan to travel more and continue to immerse ourselves in the culture of Barcelona and Spain as much as possible before our return to Hanover for the start of the spring season.