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Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain


After an anxious wait for my Visa I finally arrived in Barcelona on the 25th of September. This meant that classes had already begun – there was to be no settling in period, I was going to have to move quickly in order to stay afloat. Surprisingly, three days later, I felt calm. I have found a wonderful flat, professors at the University have been extremely supportive in helping me catch up, and I have already met plenty of interesting people. Having only studied Spanish at a rudimentary level during my Under-graduate, I was perhaps slightly worried, as much of the course is taught in Spanish. I have adapted quickly though, and can feel my Spanish improving with every passing day.

Intellectually, I knew that Catalan was the preferred language of Barcelona. This shouldn’t be surprising – last year they fought so passionately for independence that was not forthcoming (this fight continues). I was somewhat taken aback however with just how stubbornly the residents stick to Catalan. They all speak Spanish perfectly, and English much of the time for that matter, but to use Spanish is seen in many circles as an admittance of subordination. It seems as though I may have to learn Catalan, or at least a few words, to really impress in the eyes of the locals. 


 The school itself is in a beautiful building designed by J.A. Coderch de Sentmenat, with an extensive library to boot. It truly feels like it will be an incredible place to study. Another famous architect, Alberto Campo Baeza, is a guest professor for this coming semester – he is someone whose work I respect greatly, it is unbelievable that architects of this calibre are seemingly dropping in and out. 


 So far, I’ve eaten out every night, and I hope to change this habit at some point in the near future, but I have been amazed by the quality of the ingredients they use in just day to day cooking, as well as the affordability of it. I went to a nice restaurant on my first night (to celebrate a little) and didn’t hold back. This cost me about a third of what it might have in Melbourne or Sydney. 

 All in all things bode well for me here, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only been three days. I can’t wait to see how things might progress.

Leonidas Koumouris
Master of Architecture
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

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