A Buckeye in Barcelona

You read that right, I’m off again and this time to Barcelona. I’ll be studying at the Menéndez Pelayo International University until the end of June to finish out the coursework necessary to obtain my Spanish minor at The Ohio State University. As many of you know, I’ve got quite a hankering to get out and see the world and this was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of my areas of study to take me somewhere new. 

After completing my month of classes about Spanish culture, art, language, and architecture, I’ll be joined by my sister Heather in Barcelona before we embark upon a mini tour of some European hot spots. You’ll just have to stay tuned for details throughout the rest of the summer. 

I’ve spent the last few months researching everything from train passes and towers, buses and best bites, to museums and mausoleums- gathering the pieces and parts I wanted to make sure I can soak up all the culture possible while I’m abroad. I plan on sharing my tips and tricks for travel as well as lessons learned along the way. For now, I’ll share a list of some thoughts I’ve had over the last 24 hours:

  • “But wait, I don’t actually know Spanish.”
  • “What do you mean you can’t find my other flight reservation?”
  • “If I’m at the Philadelphia airport does that mean I have to get a Philly cheesesteak?”
  • “My bag only weighs 35 lbs? That means I can buy 15 lbs of stuff abroad.”
  • “I really hope my parents remember to feed my fish.”
  • “I could not be more excited to start this journey.”

And now as I prepare myself to leave my home country for the next 56 days, there are no worries, regrets, or anxiety about forgetting to pack things I’ll need- only a calm excitement for whatever treasures and wonders I’m about to start collecting. 


Okay now I’m in the beautiful city of Barcelona and I’m completely smitten. From the beatific architecture and wide boulevards, this place has charm like no place I’ve ever been. I was greeted by my host mother, Luisa, who is a lovely 65 year old woman with a darling house with both a front and back walled-in garden. She doesn’t speak English. This will be an adventure. I know just enough Spanish to know what we are talking about but not what we’re saying. I will eventually be joined by a roommate also studying abroad at my university and a doctor named Alex, who is from Peru and is pursuing his master’s degree. He’s currently in Madrid on a mini vacation, I’m told. 

I stared at the toilet for 3 minutes trying to decide which flush button was the right one. I chose incorrectly. 

Adventures, stories, and embarrassing moments are sure to follow in this season of Han’s Travels. 

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