Study Abroad Alumni Experiences – Natasha – Barcelona, Spain & Tokyo, Japan

By September 25, 2018Blog post

This week we have stories from the past the present! Our wonderful JU student Natasha Ubani is currently studying for one full year on an Exchange program with Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Her spark for travel was ignited a long time ago, seeing as she’s an international student from Nigeria here on JU campus!! She knew she wanted to explore the world further during her college career, so she began by spending Fall 2017 in Barcelona, Spain through Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (BSAE).

Read about her love letter to Barcelona here, and stay tuned for wonderful Tokyo updates from our very own JU International Business and Marketing student – Natasha Ubani!

Esto es solo un “verte pronto” Barcelona, no un “adios”. This is only a ‘see you soon’ Barcelona, not a ‘goodbye’.

Barcelona, mi hermosa ciudad. Te extranaré mucho hasta que volvamos a ver. I really don’t think My Barcelona Experience is an apt description because BSAE gave me a whole lot more than a Barcelona experience. To be brutally honest, I don’t think any words I put down can do justice to my 3 months in Spain.

I left Spain months ago now and personally, I think as much as I was excited to be heading home – I wasn’t ready to leave either. I have been fascinated with Spanish culture for quite some time and it had been a dream to travel to Spain and experience it for myself. I had never contemplated my experience going through a study abroad program but I honestly wouldn’t change it for anything.

I had a lot of expectations. They were all surpassed. My program was chuck full of cultural activities that made my experience in Spain more authentic than touristy. I could claim honorary Catalan status maybe?

Was it living in an apartment in the centre of busy Barcelona, getting lost my first few weeks there, figuring out the metro, witnessing live Catalonia’s fight for Independence, eating and learning to cook authentic Catalan dishes, or spending 3 months and bonding with people I had never met before? It was an experience to say the least!

It was a learning curve in so many ways. I was the only non-American student in my program –  being from Nigeria, but studying in the U.S. – and I can’t say that made my experience any different. Besides, a lot of staring – which could be because of my afro – I had a great time (disclaimer: it’s also a Spanish thing apparently to just openly stare so keep that in mind, they don’t mean any harm! I love to travel and experience new things. I knew if I had to do a study abroad that I would want a longer stay – so definitely not the 2 week programs or brief summer ones. This was perfect for me.

Language was not much of barrier. Barcelona is a huge tourist destination, so most places you’ll find yourself there will be someone with at least basic proficiency in English to communicate with. But, if you are like me and you really want to practice your Spanish then this is a great opportunity to do so!

I feel like I have so much to talk about, but I have no words to bring it all out. I apologize. I can say that I loved every moment of my stay. And I do have to point out the excellent support system the staff at BSAE provided. They became family-away-from-family.

As for Barcelona, beautiful Barcelona, busy Barcelona, well…you’ll have to find out for yourself, now won’t you?

-Natasha Ubani