Julia Hohenstein is a 3rd year in the Commerce School with a double major in statistics. This semester, she is studying on the UVA Commerce: Third Year Core: ESADE Barcelona program. Read her thoughts on starting her semester abroad and some of her goals so far!
My name is Julia Hohenstein, and I am a third year in McIntire studying IT within the McIntire school and statistics within the College. I am from a small beach town, Brielle, New Jersey about an hour south of New York City. At UVA, I am heavily involved with community service through Madison House and have also attended two Alternative Spring Break trips (one in Portland, Oregon and one in Death Valley, California). I love hiking, trying new restaurants, and going to concerts. I’m hoping to do all of the above and more in the coming semester, when I am lucky enough to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain.
Through the Comm school, I will be an exchange student at ESADE Business School. There are only three of us from UVA in the Comm program, so it is going to be interesting moving to a new city hardly knowing anyone. I have visited Europe a few times before (France and Ireland), but have never been to Spain, so I don’t know too much about what to expect. Everyone keeps warning me that Barcelona is infamous for pickpocketing, but they balance out this negative with raving reviews of the food, culture, and beauty in the city.
I have wanted to study abroad in Spain ever since I was in high school, so getting accepted into the program really was a dream come true. I studied Spanish up until college, and while I would not consider myself fluent I am pretty confident in my abilities. I think I will be able to get around and speak minimally, which will make the transition so much easier. I am really looking forward to improving my comprehension and speaking skills.
The opportunity to in study and live in another country like this offers so much more than just language comprehension. Of course, I am excited to travel. The ease of travel between major European cities is still baffling to me, and I plan to take full advantage of it. However, I am also so excited to immerse myself in the Spanish and Catalan culture. I will be living in Barcelona at such an interesting time in history given the Catalonian independence movement of the last year and a half. Though I cannot speak Catalan, I hope to pick up on cultural practices and even some vocabulary.
I am really excited for the food and the energy of the city. I have heard nothing but great things about paella, and I love the idea of tapas (small plates meant to share). I’m fully ready to spend way too much money trying loads them. I am curious what the night life is going to be like, and if it will really be as late as people say. Spaniards eat dinner super late compared to the States and often stay out at bars or clubs until daylight. I am not used to this at all, so it will be an adjustment to start eating dinner around 10pm despite having classes early the next day. But for now, just going to take it one step at a time. And that first involves successfully navigating the airport, finding the AirBnB we booked, and getting over jet lag. One step at a time.