...After a month and a half of being away from our beloved Barcelona, I have asked students to reflect on their time abroad & what Barcelona (and Europe) meant to them. Surely this is no simple question to answer. I believe that the more time passes the more we will appreciate and see how this experience has helped us grow & learn about ourselves and the world we live in.
"Barcelona was an opportunity of a lifetime for me to rediscover my passion for architecture. Thanks to my experiences there, I am motivated to bring the ideas that inspired me into my future work as a practicing architect."
"I never really realized how courageous I am until I arrived back here in America. Reflecting over the past nine months abroad, I’ve come to see that flying thousands of miles away from home and living in a country who speaks a totally different language is a really scary thing, something that not just everyone would be willing to do. And yet, here I was, willing to jump right in to the complete unknown of Spain, where the language, customs, culture, and way of life are vastly different from those in America. With that realization in mind, I feel invincible. I can’t wait to see what the future holds."
"It takes courage to get out of your own world. But in return, you get a very powerful way to learn, by actually seeing, touching and experiencing."
"It is almost impossible to not change your perspective on the world after living in another country for a year. This year I have gotten lost in a maze of alleyways, spoken to locals in another language, climbed to the roof of a cathedral, had dinner with a family in Morocco, and seen places I never thought I would see. There is a lot out there to explore past the cornfields of Illinois."
"Barcelona strengthened my ability to design by allowing me to analyze and interact with each city and its people more intimately. Getting involved with an international church also gave me a greater sensitivity on my faith and helped to form a foundation of what community can look like in an urban context."
Studying abroad constantly forced me to become independent and pay close attention to my surroundings . Now I can never see Chicago, or any city, the same way again."
"Right now I'm living my life looking forward to the next big adventure."
"Studying abroad in Barcelona helped me to better appreciate the history of every country by visiting historic sites and analyzing them through our assignments."
"Not to sound cliché but I would say my time in Barcelona has been the best year of my life. And through my travels and classes I grew more than I would have imagined. The 9 months spent abroad have left me with an desire to explore and discover both cultures and countries."
-Nick Van Antwerp
"Barcelona allowed me to move out of my comfort zone which led me to adapt to new scenarios and experiences. Barcelona gave me the happiest and saddest times of my life, but because of its huge impact on me I will always remember it as one of the best years of my life."
"The overall experience benefited me by giving me a chance to expand my cultural understanding and form lasting international friendships. It helped me be more independent in traveling and decision making."
"Being in Barcelona put me out of my comfort zone in ways that I never would have imagined. I realized the importance of utilizing my resources, patience to fully understand another's idea or concept, and being able to bounce ideas off of a peer. Barcelona brought me out of my shell in a work environment as well as a social environment."
"I think the whole Barcelona study abroad experience is eye opening. Being able to visit historical architectural sites in person surely enhances the learning process we have toward architecture. In addition, it pushes us to work outside our comfort zone in order to better shape our ability in learning and working with different type of people under different kind of environs. I have to say that it's a fun and memorable year that has impacted my life."
"Being in Barcelona for a year truly expanded my worldview, but also my ambitions as an aspiring architect. I experienced so many different cultures & ways of living that make me hungry to explore even more. Collaborating with people of different backgrounds who perceive and analyze architecture differently than I do has been the most rewarding of them all. No two people think the same. The more diverse individuals we work with, the more our architecture will improve. Because of this, I have a newfound goal of beginning an international career to continue adding to our collective growth of intellect as architects of the world."
To conclude this blog... I wanted to take the time to thank all of the IASAP-BV 2014-2015 Pioneers for participating in making this blog/website a success all year round. Without your perspectives, the website would not be nearly as interesting. I hope that the future class can continue posting updates such as we have & that we can continue sharing our stories with others of how much this experience has shaped us as young adults, professionals & creative thinkers + explorers.
I wish everyone the best of luck!