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Barcelona: Ideal Study Abroad Location to learn Spanish?

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Barcelona: Ideal Study Abroad Location to learn Spanish?

Old Jan 10th, 2015, 10:07 PM
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Barcelona: Ideal Study Abroad Location to learn Spanish?

Big facts to get out of the way?

1) I'm a community college student from Seattle.
2) I've always wanted to travel. Always.
3) The college that I attend is offering a 10 week study abroad stay in Barcelona, Spain.
4) And...one of my biggest, deepest goals in life?

Is to become bilingual.

To possess that amazing ability to actually speak a second language? Or a third?

Wow.

I can't even begin to express how incredible that is.

Especially when, during my college career, I've been blessed to make friends with a good chunk of international students. I've got to commend their bravery of garnering an education over here...and learning to speak an entirely new language.

No easy task.

So. Here I am. Now about to dock the same boat that I've so admired and wished for, from a distance.

My trip wouldn't be the same, time wise.
I'm only in Barcelona a little over two and a half months.

But, Catalan is the main language that the locals speak. I love the Spanish language and I want to make the most of any Study Abroad opportunity that comes my way (you don't get very many).

So, my questions are as follows:

Would this be worth it?
I have a trip I could potentially take to South Africa. Whew. Decisions.

Would the locals be offended that I'm not primarily speaking Catalan because I am there to learn Spanish? I don't want to be seen as the annoying, patriotic American; persons that are a bit more ignorant than they should be and may find it ideal to stay home and brush up on some basic, cultural research, and manners, before traveling.

And I also don't want to offend any of the local people in Barcelona because I want to foster a deep, enriching experience between them and myself, with a solid respect to those I am visiting.

Would I be scoffed at? Because, well, let's face it; my Spanish skills will most likely be akin to a four year old talking with his mouth full of oatmeal. I know I'll have to get over my initial hesitation and just speak. Even if it is a terrible jumble of Spanish, perhaps a miraculous bit of Catalan, and spurts of English here and there. I mean, I know that we all have to start somewhere.

And opportunities like this NEED to be snatched up when they come.

But, I'd love to get some opinions.
Comments. Thoughts.

I know I don't fit the normal MO of this website. This is going out on a limb, even for me.
But, before the deadline to a scholarship rolls up (01/16/15), I want to try at least one more avenue to help in my deciphering process.

Thank you everyone.
Any feedback I get will calm this travel sick, maybe a teensy bit scared, young adult over here.

Safe, peaceful traveling to you all. = )
BekahB is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2015, 01:09 AM
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Do it.

If you can afford it, stop worrying and sign up.

Our son studied in Aix. He tends to say "ouai" rather than "oui". Not a big deal. Our daughter studied advanced Gaelic in Scotland, having had basic Gaelic in her American university. Her Scottish instructor delighted in pointing out "Irishisms" in her speech and writing, but he didn't lower her grade.

Studying abroad is the single most important thing any student can do.

Go for it!
Ackislander is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2015, 10:04 AM
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I love Barcelona, I'd go there to do that, but don't have unrealistic ideas.

You are NOT going to become fluent at anything in 10 weeks. You'll learn a little, I presume you know no Spanish? If you know some, you'll get more out of it by improving.

Locals don't care if you are studying Spanish, believe me. I think you've been misinformed about how they all speak Catalan in Barcelona all the time and never Spanish. All the young people I know there are bilingual between them and would probably think it amazing you could speak Spanish. I speak Spanish well enough to get by everyday and only spoke it there and had no troubles (really no one cares). I don't think anyone will scoff at you but don't expect to be speaking Spanish a lot outside school because if you don't speak it very well, no one will understand you and you won't even probably know how to say certain things. So they'll speak English to you, although they don't speak it as much in Spain as in some other countries, but they'll still know more than you probably.

So go and have a good time and learn something, but I think you need to deflate your ideas about how easy it is to learn a foreign language and how much you are going to learn in 10 weeks if you know none now. You aren't going to be hobnobbing with the locals that much nor conversing in Spanish if you don't know any now.
Christina is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2015, 04:37 PM
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I would take the opportunity and make the most of it. Hopefully your time there will spark your interest in continuing to learn Spanish.
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Old Jan 11th, 2015, 07:15 PM
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Every Catalan speaks an excellent Castilian besides Catalan.
IMDonehere is offline  
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