Bienvenidos from PCE!
The Westcoast Blogger
Pre-College Enrichment: Barcelona Program #80 is off to an amazing start! It’s hard to believe we have only been here 4 days and Barcelona already feels like home. We arrived at the residence Wednesday afternoon and although we were tired, we kept our spirits up and made it through the rest of the day touring the residence and its facilities as well as the DiR Pool and Fitness center down the street.
Thursday was the first day of classes when we got put into our respective Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level Spanish classes, as well as our afternoon elective groups. The SAT class, under the instruction of one of our group leaders and Princeton Review Instructor, Loren, pushed through an introductory test! We got our first taste of the Barcelona Metro and Plaza Catalunya, and had time to check out the cafes and shops on Las Ramblas, an exciting busy central strip in downtown Barcelona. Our school is only minutes away, so when we break for lunch and in the afternoon we can explore the little streets and be in the action!
Thursday afternoon we had free time and enjoyed lounging by the gorgeous outdoor pool at the DiR Club, or going for a workout in the DiR Fitness Center. Nicole, Ellie, Justin and Amanda enjoyed a relaxing afternoon by the pool, while Rosie, Jen and Cale lifted weights at the DiR gym, along with Jess, one of our tour leaders. After a long day at school and exploring around downtown, it was nice to relax and spend time getting to know one another. After dinner, the boys and girls spent time getting to know each other in a super speed-dating round (highlights included Mike and Dylan’s high school drama stories, Christin’s best pick-up line and Luke’s racy question of the night!) and then chilled out in the park outside the residence listening to Austin and our Program Coordinator, David, jam on the guitar.
Yesterday was another exciting day in downtown Barcelona. In the afternoon, Darren, Lisa, Pauline and Jared in the International Business class went with Program Director Ira to visit and interview the staff at Zara (a large European retailer) after a case study of their success while the Spanish Culture and Art History classes explored Plaza Catalunya and had some time to take pictures by the fountains and statues in the centre of the city. We also enjoyed some free time to shop and wander along Las Ramblas yesterday afternoon before we settled down for an incredible tapas dinner at a local restaurant in the Barrio Gothica (Gothic Quarter). There we met Jordan our local tour guide, who gave us a fabulous tour of
the Gothic Quarter for a few hours. Steph and Ben impressed us with their knowledge of Picasso, while Sara and Alana chimed in with their knowledge of European architecture and history. Stacy, Matt and Emma were thrilled when we ended the tour at Las Ramblas for a quick gelato before heading back to the residence to call it a night!
We´re super excited for another busy day today. We are taking a chartered private bus to Figueres, the small town where Salvador Dali grew up, and we´ll be exploring the Dali museum and its surroundings. On Sunday, we´re looking forward to doing a bike tour of Barcelona to see even more of the city followed by an afternoon at Barcelonetta Beach. There are many different areas left to explore and we’ve already seen so many in such a short time.
Our days are jam packed with excitement and adventure, with tons of time to socialize with each other, and lots of time devoted to learning so many interesting things about Spanish culture and the city of Barcelona. Natasha, our fourth tour leader, introduces us every morning to a few new Spanish words which will help us throughout the day, such as ‘excuse me’ or ‘how much does this cost?’ Carly and Harrison even shared a few this morning, getting up in front of the whole group to perform their skit. We also nominate a Rey and Reina del dia (King and Queen of the day) with our first being Micky and Deni, for showing such great enthusiasm during the first few days of the program.
Ira, David, Jessica, Loren and Natasha