Today’s the day. My bags are all packed (though that’s still debatable), I’ve exhausted Rick Steves’ books on Europe, and I’ve practiced my Italian here and there this summer. Today, I leave Boston for Barcelona and begin studying abroad. Ever since I first heard about study abroad, it seemed like this elusive thing that I would never have the chance to do, but it’s here, and today begins my study abroad series From Rhody to Bologna (yes, read as baloney).
As far as little things go, I already know that I’m going to miss glasses of ice water and starting my morning off with a coffee from Coastal Roasters. But I have a lot of exciting things lined up and can’t wait to share those and discover a small Italian neighborhood coffee shop (a bar di fiducia), hop around the literary bars of Dublin, and visit Berlin around the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall.
First up, I’m traveling to Spain for two weeks before heading to Italy and visiting different cities and locations related to my Romantic Spain seminar I took last semester at school (heads up to students, these are things that people might be willing to fund at your school). In my seminar, we talked about the different myths of Spain: this “exotic” part of Europe that had been considered Africa and home to flamenco, Don Juan, Carmen, bull fights, and not much else. While we read some texts in Spanish, we also studied a number of poems and stories by French, American, and British authors to see how Spain is viewed from an outsider. While I’m in Spain, I’ll not only be interested in seeing major sights but also how tourists and tourism groups brand and describe Spain and what it has to offer.
I have my books and movies lined up for the plane ride (including a copy of Iberia which a friend gave me) and embark from Rhody to Bologna.