I have been to Spain twice, once to France and to Italy. Those experiences were strictly vacation. My cultural experience of each of these countries was on a highly touristic level. I hope to eliminate the tourist attitude this time, and delve directly into the lifestyles of the Spanish. I am fortunate enough to be participating in a program that provides a host family for students who want to be fully immersed in the culture.
At this point, visa and other paperwork has flooded into my life. For anyone who is considering doing a study abroad as part of your education, which I encourage wholeheartedly, or if you just want to travel for an extended amount of time, be prepared to do the paperwork. Most important, get your passport well ahead of time. Problems can arise and the processing can take up to six months, as background checks must be run on applicants. The visa process can take another six to eight weeks, and should also be taken care of ahead of time if you'll be abroad for more than ninety days. Don't let the paperwork discourage you, though. It is not as bad as it sounds.
I look forward to sharing with you the beauty of Barcelona in just eight short weeks. In the meantime, I am thinking over my packing list and charging my camera battery.
Thanks for reading.