Goodbye Barcelona

As this semester is quickly coming to an end, I am experiencing a world wind of emotions. I cannot believe how fast this semester flew by. It feels like it was just yesterday my mom was dropping me off at LAX and we were saying our final goodbyes before I ventured off onto this journey. As I was boarding the plane to come here, I remember thinking to myself, “oh god what did I get myself into” and feeling as though I was not ready for the experience I was about to embark on. I had never even been to Europe before studying abroad, so I really had no clue what to expect. My experiences abroad have been characterized by the struggle of understanding the culture and the roller coaster of emotions.

Before I got to Barcelona, I was aware that the culture and lifestyle here would be different from what I was used to in the United States. However, I think I was a little bit blindsided when I got here and saw just how different it really was. First and foremost, the biggest cultural difference for me was the amount of people I thought were being rude when I first got here. Within the first few days I had encountered multiple people that ran into me walking without saying sorry, got stared at an excessive amount, and didn’t see anyone smiling at one another ever. All these things were really shocking to me because none of which are normal to experience that often in the states. It took some time for me to realize that all these things are just apart of the culture here in Barcelona. It is not that the people here are impolite, it’s just that their culture is different from what I was used to. After being here for almost four months now, all these things seem totally normal to me and I wouldn’t consider them to be rude actions. At this point in my study abroad experience, I have fully adapted to the cultural norms of Barcelona.

It’s safe to say I went through extreme highs and lows of emotions throughout the semester. As I learned in one of my courses at CEA this semester, it would be referred to as the “emotional roller coaster” that all abroad students typically go through. It starts arrival anticipation phase which happens before we got to Barcelona. This phase consisted of my extreme excitement to get here and dive right into whatever Barcelona had to offer. The next phase was denial and culture shock. As I talked about earlier I went through pretty severe culture shock when I first got here. I constantly found myself comparing everything to home back in the states and felt like everything people were doing here was “wrong”, rather than realizing it is just different. The third phase is the beloved honeymoon period. This consisted of me loving every single thing about being abroad. I felt like Barcelona was the greatest place in the world and that nothing could possibly affect me or make me not like it. Following the honeymoon period was the plunge phase. This is where I started having feelings of anxiety. I got very homesick during this time and just wanted to be with my family back in the states. Eventually I grew out of the plunge and went into the adjustment phase. This is when I begun to adapt the the cultural norms of Barcelona. Everything started to seem normal to me and I became very aware of my cultural surroundings. The final phase I have entered on the emotional roller coaster is the accommodation/assimilation phase. At this point I have fully embraced myself into Barcelona culture. I feel completely at home here and everything feels normal to me.

Overall, I am without a doubt, positive that I made the right decision to study abroad. More specifically, I am positive that I made the right choice when choosing Barcelona as my study abroad destination. A majority of my closest friends chose to study in Florence, which is where I thought I would end up as well. At the last minute, I changed my mind and chose to go a different route than them, which brought me to Barcelona. This was one of the first major things I have really done by myself and for myself, and I am so glad that I did. It taught me how to be more independent and do what is best for me. This semester was absolutely the best four months of my life. I learned that when people tell you studying abroad is a life changing experience, they aren’t lying. In fact, I would say that referring to it as a life changing experience is an understatement. I wouldn’t change the mistakes I made or the emotional roller coaster I went through here for anything. Barcelona officially has my heart and I will 100% be back here in the future.

La Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is one of the main tourist attractions in Barcelona, Spain. The Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Church that was designed by Catalan, Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi. Construction of the church began in 1882 by Francisco Paula de Villa. It wasn’t until 1883 that Antoni Gaudi joined in when Francisco resigned as the head architect of the project. Once Gaudi took over he transformed the church using curvilinear art nouveau and gothic forms. When the project began, the Sagrada Familia was not intended to be a Cathedral. In 1926, Antoni Gaudi passed away, leaving the Sagrada Familia less than a fourth of the way finished. Once Gaudi passes away, the project was taken over by Domenec Sugranes, one of his followers, who finished building the final three towers of the Nativity facade.  




With the passing of Antoni Gaudi, the progression for the construction of the Sagrada Familia moved at a very slow pace.  The only funding for the project at the time was through private donors which played a factor into why construction was moving so slowly. The construction was also delayed due to the Spanish Civil War for quite some time. In 2010, the Sagrada Familia reached the halfway point of its completion. It is currently in its final phase of raising the six immense towers. The way in which the church is constructed now, differs from how it was constructed in the 20th century. Now they use a CNC milling machine to shape the stone off-site, where as in the 20th century it was carved by hand. The expected year for the construction to be complete is 2026, exactly one hundred years after Gaudi’s death. Added on decorations to the church are not expected to be complete until 2030-2032.


The cost of entry to visit the Sagrada Familia is a bit pricey ranging from 15-29 euros. The prices ranges depending on the amount of access within the church you have. The lower level tickets don’t allow you access to the towers. However, these hefty entrance fee’s do not stop the tourists from visiting. These fee’s finance the annual budget of 25 million euros for construction. This means that roughly 1.5 million people visit the Sagrada Familia per year. Tickets are available for purchase online or in person at the main ticket office. It opens to tourists at 9am year round and closing time varies from 6pm-8pm depending on the month. Ticket sales stop thirty minutes prior to closing time. Both individual and guided tours of the Sagrada Familia are offered. Tourists that choose to do an individual tour will be provided with an audioguide. The individual tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and the guided tour lasts approximately 50 minutes. An important thing for tourists to know is the Sagrada Familia facility recommends a strict dress code before entering the church. Tourists wearing skirts or dresses that don’t reach the knee, shorts, low cut tops, tank tops, sleeveless shirts, crop tops, or any clothing that is considered to be flashy and distracting will not be allowed inside the church.




With all the effort that has gone into the construction of the Sagrada Familia, the board members take all potential threats very seriously. In March of 2010, the construction of the AVE tunnel began. The Ministry of Public works of Spain stated it in no way would cause any harm to the Sagrada Familia. However, the architects and engineers building the church completely disagreed. They claimed there was no way anyone could guarantee that this underground railroad would not affect the stability of the church. The Sagrada Familia board led a protest against the AVE railroad which did not end with a success. As of today, there has been no reported damage to the Sagrada Familia.

The interior design of the Sagrada Familia is just as intricate as it is on the outside. None of the pieces on the inside are flat and all consist of abstract shapes. Much of the inside decor is pointy and sharp. When designing the Sagrada Familia Gaudi’s intentions were to use his architecture to express Christian ideology. These beliefs were showed through his interior design of the church. There is eighteen towers within the Sagrada Familia with each of them having a direct reflection on Christianity. The tower in the center is devoted to Jesus Christ. Surrounding the center tower, are four
other towers through which the Gospel is represented. The Virgin Mary is represented by the tower above the apse, which is topped off by a star. The twelve apostles are represented by the twelve remaining towers. The branding columns on the exterior are meant to symbolize an invite to everyone in to practice prayer and celebrate the Eucharist. Antoni Gaudi stated, “The intimacy and depth is that of a wood, which will be the interior of the Temple of the Sagrada Familia”. As a way to allow natural light into the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi implemented skylights into the design using green and gold tiles and glass. The apse consists of stained glass which helps create an environment appropriate for introspection. The stained glass windows also play a role in providing bright light inside. Gaudi claimed that “color was the expression of life” which is why he felt it was necessary for it to be incorporated into Sagrada Familia.





The Basilica is the place of worship within the Sagrada Familia. It is help in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and Penitence. On the Sagrada familia website, is where the public can find dates of masses they are allowed to attend in the Basilica. It is rare that there are any open to the public, but if they are, the Sagrada Familia website is where a person would be able to find them. The next upcoming mass is April 1st at 6pm for an Easter concert. Then again on April 9th for Palm Sunday Mass at noon.








Valentí Sanjuan

On Wednesday, March 22nd, our Journalism 2.0 class was fortunate enough to have guest speaker, Valentí Sanjuan, come in and talk to us. Prior to hearing Valentí share his story, I did some research on him so that I would be educated on what he was going to talk to us about. My lack of knowledge on the Spanish language limited me to what I could learn about him before class. My only assumptions about Valentí Sanjuan before entering class on Wednesday were that he appeared to be some form of journalist, as well as an athlete. Once I typed in his name into google, YouTube videos of him biking came up. After watching little clips of these videos is when I came up with the assumption he was an athlete. Also, I knew he was involved with a television network called, “Visto Lo Visto,” because this network kept appearing whenever I searched his name. However, I was unaware of what his involvement with “Visto Lo Visto” included.

After conducting my research, I was very anxious for Wednesday’s class to learn about Valentí, and see if my assumptions about him were correct. I quickly learned that I was right to assume he was some form of journalist. Sanjuan started his journalism career about fifteen years ago as a traditional journalist as well as a radio personality. This was all before online platforms for journalism were as common as they are today. Eventually, Valentí transitioned into online media platforms and posted his first video on the YouTube channel, “vistolovistoTV”.  I was surprised to find out that “Visto Lo Visto” was not a television network, however it was a YouTube channel. I was under the impression that this was a television network similar to ABC or NBC, but once Valentí began to talk about it and show us videos, I learned that I was wrong. Visto Lo Visto is considered to be a comedy entertainment show, with guest speakers, comedians, and an array of recurring characters. This channel consitists of having a live audience while being filmed and is later uploaded to YouTube. The YouTube channel has roughly one thousand subscribers, in addition to having many people online streaming the program.

Once Valentí obtained a strong fan base, is when he begun to receive sponsorship opportunities from many different companies. He showed us a video of one of his shows where “Sony” was the brand that was sponsoring that particular episode. They had to showcase “Sony” in a short clip during the episode to show the products that Sony offers.  Valentí also showed us one of his videos that his sister recorded of them participating in a triathlon in Hawaii. This video has almost 390,000 views on YouTube which is an extremely large amount considering the video is over an hour long. He has competed in many different triathlons around the world that he has also filmed and uploaded to YouTube. These triathlons are funded by t-shirt sales, books, and other products he sells.

I really enjoyed hearing what Valentí had to share with our class. My favorite part about his lecture was that I could really hear the passion in his voice when he was talking about what he does. You could tell he really loves his life and enjoys his business. It is not easy to become a self-branded YouTuber, but Valentí truly loves it and has fun while working. Now thats what I call living the dream. It gave me hope for my future career, knowing that it is possible to have fun while working, if you’re doing something you’re passionate about. It is inspiring to learn about how one person can create such a large platform for themselves through the internet and become such a huge success. One thing he said that really stuck with me was how he has many different bosses. His bosses include himself, his sponsors, the social media accounts he uses (mainly YouTube), and his viewers. He explained to us that without his viewers, he would be nothing. If he didn’t get support from all his fans, he would never have made it to where he is today. Valentí stated that when you lose your audience you are “completely out”. Ultimately, his viewers are what keeps his company alive and what has helped make him such a success.

At the end of his lecture, another student in class asked Valentí if he had any motivational quotes he said to himself when he was having a hard time with his work or in his life. Valentí responded and stated “one day the funeral make-up person is going to shave you”. I was very confused by this at first and didn’t really understand how this quote motivated him when he was having a hard time. Then he explained what it meant to him and told us it is his way of saying “make the most of your life while you still have the time”. You can tell that this is a quote Valentí Sanjuan truly lives by through everything he showed us and talked about during our class. I hope that one day I become as successful as Valentí, and have as much fun doing it as he does!

Mobile Journalism

Mobile journalism can be defined as reporters use of portable devices to spread, edit, and share news to the world. Reporters use devices such as cell phones, iPads, laptops, iPhones, etc. Mobile journalism is becoming increasingly more popular as technology continues to advance. The use of mobile journalism is far more convenient for reporters because they have the the devices they need at their finger tips to post information. Traditional journalism is decreasing in popularity because it is much more time consuming and inconvenient compared to using a smart phone or other hand held devices.479bdc21b95c293f36518f493b0f6c55Mobile journalists are often referred to as Mojo’s, and have used the advancement of technology to their advantage. Mojo’s can simply just pull their iPhone out to record something rather than having to carry around a massive video camera or tape recorder. This is a huge benefit when mobile journalist come across something that want to report on unexpectedly. For instance, imagine if a reporter is out on a regular day and a huge rally or strike begins to take place. Mobile journalist do not have to be concerned about not capturing the footage of this unexpected rally because they are always prepared as long as they have their iPhone on them. Just about anyone nowadays is able to capture and share important news or events with just the push of a few buttons. Another huge advancement in technology that is increasing the use of mobile journalism is the option for people to “go live” on social media networks. This means anyone can start a live video to film exactly what is going on around them and anyone can be watching this online at the exact moment it is happening. This is very helpful for journalists because they no longer have to go back to their office after recording material to be able to publish it.


Mojo, Stephen Quinn, states that “to be a mojo it requires a multimedia mindset or way or thinking which combines video, audio, text, graphics and stills”. Not just anyone can be a true Mojo without obtaining these specific skills. However, just about anyone is capable of sharing basic information with the same tools that Mojo’s use.

Guide to Successful Blogging

When it comes to blogging, there are multiple different factors that a blogger must consider when writing each post. Writing a blog is similar to writing a diary, however this diary is public. Blogging is a wonderful way for a person to be able to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Not only does blogging always have to be about expressing personal experiences, it is also a good way to state factual information in a more relaxed manner. I use my blog to express my thoughts about my experiences abroad, and share photos of the amazing places I get the opportunity to visit.


There are many different tools that are beneficial for a blogger regardless of what they are writing about. It is important to know the different ways to platform and organize your blog when setting it up. For example, your display page is a crucial factor because this is the first thing people see when they click on your blog. It is more likely that people will exit out of your blog sooner if they just see tons of writing right away. This is why it is important to use pictures when blogging because it keeps the viewers entertained. Another thing a person needs to consider when creating a blog is the use of categories and tags. Without using categories and tags, your blog becomes harder to find. Categories and tags will differ depending on what ones blog post is about. A category is in a sense a more broad version of a tag. For example, a category could be “travel” and your tag could be “Barcelona”. Another important thing for a blogger to know is their search engine optimization and their search engine marketing.

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Blogging can be very beneficial for many people in numerous different ways. For some, blogging may just be used as a way to express themselves. However, blogging for others may be used for professional purposes. For instance, some people get paid to blog for companies. Also, some people are even paid to blog about their own personal lives. I happen to know of a few different people who’s jobs are to blog about their daily life. Their blogs normally consist of talking about their interests, fashion, food, and weekend adventures. They keep their blogs up to date and post often in order to keep their viewers around. Blogging is a great way to establish business connections.

Here are the links of the girls I know who blog for a living. I personally find their blogs very entertaining and are worth the read!




Facebook is a social networking website that has changed the way people communicate in todays world. Before Facebook, sites like myspace were used, however in 2008 Facebook took over. Not only the millennial generation is using it, even my grandparents are on Facebook. The vast majority of people using Facebook check it everyday, if not multiple times a day. It is a great way to stay connected with friends and family to constantly stay updated on each others lives. For instance, as I spend this semester abroad, my family wants to be able to see what I am doing. Facebook makes it easy for them to stay in the loop with my whereabouts and activities I partake in while in Europe. This social network helps give them reassurance that I am safe and doing well here in Europe. I post pictures daily of all the beautiful things I see around Barcelona and my family tells me they appreciate me doing so. Also, when I travel to a new place on the weekends I always “check in” when I have arrived at the airport of my destination. This allows my family to know that I have arrived safely. I know this is the case for most students while away in college. A parent having access to see what their child is up to makes the separation a little bit easier. Not only is it useful for the parents, but it is also beneficial to us as children when feeling homesick from our families. Facebook also helps us know that we are still connected with our families one way or another even when we are halfway around the world.


Not only is Facebook useful for staying connected with friends and family, it is also helps people stay updated on the news events happening in the world. For myself personally, my main source of obtaining information about current events is through Facebook. People are constantly “sharing” news articles about politics, or event terrorist attacks when there happens to be one. Seeing these posts on Facebook helps me stay up to date with everything that is happening in the world without ever turning on the television to watch the actual news. This is extremely beneficial while traveling because I do not have time for television, so Facebook makes it easy for me to remain in the loop about current events. I am thankful to have a website like Facebook while I am in Europe because it offers multiple ways for me to stay connected with the United States.

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