My favorite aspect of being Resident Director is spending time with students and seeing how much they grow after their time in Spain. I love showing students Spanish culture, history and customs. Barcelona is a beautiful and fascinating city!
Meet Inma Arenas, our Resident Director in Barcelona. She has been working with AIFS since 1998 and has been our Resident Director in Barcelona since 2003! Having studied abroad herself in England she loved getting to know people from other cultures and says the experience made her more confident and independent, something she sees as an important reason of why students should study abroad. In her spare time she loves planning trips to new cities and designing her own custom jewelry! With the start of our first fall semester program in Barcelona, I asked Inma a few questions.
What do you most enjoy about the new semester? Being able to see them grow as individuals! I feel part of my job is to teach them about Spain and other cultures and the importance of learning about and showing respect to new cultures and customs.
What is your favorite excursion to take students on? The Gothic area and the Cathedral, because they realize that Spain had a history before the USA was even born!
What do students have the most trouble adjusting to? I would say they are overwhelmed by the whole situation: a new country, a new school, new classes with different teachers and an educational system that they are not used to. Many of them also come from smaller towns and coming to Barcelona is a bit of a shock! Figuring out the metro system and the streets takes a few weeks for sure.
What are students most excited about when they arrive? They are very excited about the possibility of traveling to other European cities so easily. In Barcelona we are so close to so many destinations and there is an international airport right in town. And of course the Spanish night life is very exciting!
Why would you recommend Barcelona for a student looking into going abroad, especially over other destinations in Spain? The diversity, the mix of cultures, the architecture and the sun!