Mieke's Portfolio Weblog

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Nearing the end...

Yes, I am really nearing the end. Together with the other four girls from Maastricht we are already leaving this saturday, because our school starts again on monday :(
Barcelona has been a great experience for me so far. I feel really lucky that I got the opportunity to come and study here for almost three months. I have experienced so many things in these months that I probably would never have experienced back in Holland. Already from the first day I arrived here my adventure started. These days were pretty hectic because we had to go and look for an appartment, move into that apartment, get settled, explore the neighborhood and the rest of Barcelona.
In the first few days of my stay my family came over to celebrate my 21st birthday with me. In these days I got to see the main shoppingstreet, some of the main touristattractions and a lot of metrostations ;)
The first real event I attended was la Mercé. I have never seen so many wonderful things in one weekend. Gigantes, Castellers, Correfoc and the fireworks!! Amazing! This absolutely was the highlight of my stay here. These days the weather was still good and school had not started yet so I spend a lot of time on the beach (this seems a really long time ago now, but it is unthinkable in Holland.) I also went to a lot of different parks in the neighborhood just to walk around and relax.
The following weeks and weekends were a little less spectacular then la Mercé. Just a little shopping, sightseeing and going out.
When school started we got to meet a lot of new people, which was great. Also out of school we met to go out or do something. This is how I got to know about a lot of nice bars and restaurants.
On mondays we generally went to visit some touristattractions in and near Barcelona. I got to places where I probably would never go by myself, for example the Dalí musea, port aventura and Palau de la musica. This also was a great experience.
Other weekdays we attended classes. I feel I have learned a lot in these classes. Everybody, both students and teachers are really nice. In Holland we have to call our teachers by their last names and there is not really a bond between teachers and students. I liked the less formal interaction. I do not have to say anything about the school itself. Everybody knows how beautiful and great the school is. The international day was also great. There is a lot of attention for people from abroad and this gave me a good feeling.

Furthermore the people in Barcelona. I do not really know what to think about them. Some people I met were really nice but others were not very open towards foreigners. Maybe because of the languagebarrier. But overall I think that people at first are not that open, but once you get to know them, they are really friendly.
I have seen a lot of sights in and outside Barcelona which have made an ever lasting impression.
Besides good things I also have seen a couple of scaring things, but this also is part of life in Barcelona. I think that it is good that I have seen these things to know the other parts of Barcelona.

At this moment I am already back in Holland and our school here has started already. I was relly good to see everybody here and I am glad to be back. I look back to my stay in Barcelona with great pleasure. I definately will come back some time I díd drink out of the oldest fountain on las Ramblas.

Thank you all very much for the great experience. I do miss you all and I hope you will keep us posted about what is happening there in Barcelona.
Muchas Gracias para todos!!
Beso Mieke

Friday, October 15, 2004

Spanish versus Catalan...

Hola todos!!!
How do you all like school so far? I like it but we are getting more and more assignments for reports and researchstudies.
But for now I´ll just write about the assignment on people feeling Spanish or Catalan.
I spoke to a couple of people and it amazes me that although many people have different answers, most of them are feeling Catalan.

The first person I spoke to is a woman who I met at the Hash (which is a running/walking team here in Barcelona.) She has lived in Barcelona her whole life and she feels Catalan. But she said that when she is outside of Barcelona/Spain she will tell people that she is Spanish. She doesn´t think being Catalan is that important to explain to people from abroad the difference between the two. She also doesn´t think that Catalunya should really be a separate state.

Secondly I spoke to is a friend. He is 22 years old and has a very different view than the women I spoke to. He really feels Catalan and is proud to be one. He seemd offended when I called him spanish. It isn´t hard to imagine he would like Catalunya to be a separate state.

The third person I spoke to is a man working in a shop underneath my appartment. He also feels really Catalan because he already lives most of his life in Barcelona. However he doesn´t really know if he wants Catalunya to be a separate state. He sais there are a lot of benefits but also a lot of negative aspects.

As you can see these are all different answers to the same questions, but all of them feel Catalan. One more then the other.
I think this was a nice experience and a nice opportunity to meet some real Barcelonian people. And although the outcome wasn´t really surprising to me it was very interesting to talk to the people.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Friday, September 24, 2004

Welcome to Catalonia!

Hello and welcome to the course!