DJ Bergo, a freshman international business major from Lincoln, Nebraska, will study abroad in Barcelona, Spain, through a UNL faculty-led program at the Institute for American Universities (IAU College) from June 1 to July 15. Bergo is excited to immerse himself in the culture of Barcelona while observing their amazing architecture and sampling their cuisine. He said, “I’m really looking forward to spending time living in a foreign country, seeing new things and meeting new people.” He also plans on taking several independent weekend travels to nearby European countries while abroad this summer.
7/16/18 - Leaving Barcelona
The time has finally come, my six weeks in Barcelona have come to a close. I spent this past week returning to all of my favorite parts of Barcelona, and soaking up as much of the city as I could. I revisited Sagrada Familia one last time and I was still just as amazed as the first time I laid my eyes on it. Next, I spent one last day wandering through the Gothic Quarter and getting lost within the intricate narrow streets. Finally, we got a big group together and spent a full day on the beaches of Sitges, my favorite place for some sun and relaxation.
Aside from exploring the city, I tried to spend as much time with my fellow study abroad students before we all went back home. Throughout the course of this program, I have met countless individuals and made friendships with people from all over the world. I’m excited to stay in touch with these incredible people and hopefully see them again.
This trip has been an incredible mix of adventures and opportunities that I will always remember. Coming into this program, I had no idea what to expect from studying abroad or living in another city. Looking back on it, I’m so happy that I made the decision to spend the summer in Barcelona. Living and studying in this city has been an incredible experience and has taught me so many valuable life lessons. I strongly encourage anyone who is considering studying abroad not to hesitate and to go for it. These past six weeks have been incredible and I hope to study abroad again in the future.
Thank you all for tuning in over the course of my trip, I hope this blog provided some insight into living abroad, travelling and experiencing new cultures. I can’t wait to get back home and start planning my next adventure.
7/10/18 - Three Days in Croatia
After returning from Venice, I went back to life as usual in Barcelona. I spent the week studying and preparing for my final exams that would be the following week. Once classes finished for the week, I set off for Split, Croatia, with seven of my friends. This trip had been in the works since we arrived in Barcelona and we planned on sightseeing in Split and the surrounding islands for three days while also attending Ultra Music Festival. From the second I arrived in Croatia I was stunned by the incredible landscapes that surrounded me. Split was surrounded by massive cliffs that dropped off sharply into a landscape of picturesque pebble beaches with crystal clear water. We spent our first day exploring its old town, which is enclosed within the ruins of Diocletian's Palace, an ancient Roman palace that was built for the Emperor Diocletian. The rest of the day and night consisted of the first day of shows at Ultra Music Festival, a major electronic music festival that is very famous in Europe.
The next morning, we woke up early and got on an old sailing yacht that would take us around to Croatia’s famous islands. Throughout the course of the day, we visited the remote beaches of Brac island and swam in the turquoise water surrounding it. Wrapping up the day trip, we visited the island of Solta and explored a small fishing village and experienced some local Croatian culture. We returned to Split and went to night two of Ultra. That night we saw some of the biggest electronic artists in the world, including Marshmello and The Chainsmokers.
For our final day in Croatia, we explored the caverns and cellars underneath Diocletian’s Palace and stumbled upon some Game of Thrones filming locations. After eating one last meal at our favorite nearby restaurant, Fast Food Garfild, we got on our flight back to Barcelona. Croatia is an incredible country that I will definitely return to in the future. Now that I’m back in Barcelona, I am finishing up final projects and trying to take in all that I can during my last week in Spain.
7/1/18 - A Weekend in Italy
After returning from Prague, I spent a few short days in Barcelona and then shipped off to one of my favorite countries, Italy. I have been to Italy several times because most of my family on my Dad’s side lives there. I left early Wednesday afternoon after class ended and then flew to Turin and hopped on a train to visit some of my family in Vercelli, Italy. I spent Wednesday night catching up with family and eating some amazing food. The following day, I met seven of my friends in Milan to start the rest of our journey.
We started off our trip with some delicious pizza in downtown Milan and then set off to explore the city center. That afternoon we saw the iconic Duomo of Milan, walked through the luxurious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and went shopping in some of the most famous stores in the world. Later that night we met up with some of my friends that live in Milan for a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant. We ended the night at a wine bar, and then headed back to our Airbnb to pack up our things for our next trip and get some sleep.
Early next morning, we got some coffee and cannolis and then hopped on a train to Venice, where we would spend the rest of our time in Italy. We arrived in Venice and stepped on to a private water taxi that took us on a tour of the canals and then dropped us off at our next Airbnb. We spent our first night in Venice exploring the intricate city and feasting on pasta, pizza, and gelato. Our next day was spent relaxing on the beaches of Lido, a long stretch of coastline just a short ferry ride from Venice. Once the sun began to set, we took a ferry back to Piazza San Marco (one of the most famous cathedrals in Venice) and ate dinner along the Grand Canal. Venice is without a doubt the most unique city that I have ever been to. The beautiful buildings, bright blue canals, and outstanding food made for one of the most memorable trips of the summer.
6/25/18 – Prague
After finishing up our midterms last week, I flew to Prague for the weekend along with five other students in the program. We all wanted to visit Prague and had been talking about it since we arrived in Spain. We arrived in Prague early Friday morning and were met by cool, cloudy weather that was the complete opposite of what we were used to in Barcelona. After a quick cab ride, we checked into our Airbnb in the city center and then set off to explore. Our first day in the city consisted of visiting most of the major landmarks in Prague. First, we walked over the historic Charles Bridge that showcases some of the best views in the city. Next, we explored the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, which highlight some of the best architecture in the city. To wrap up the day, we ate some delicious Czech cuisine at a local restaurant and brewery.
The following morning, we started off the day with some coffee and pastries at a bakery and then walked to the famous John Lennon Wall. The wall is filled with artwork and John Lennon lyrics to symbolize peace. It was originally created by students in the ’80s to protest against the Czech government. We spent the rest of the day walking through the streets and taking in the incredible architecture that Prague is so well known for.
On our final day, we visited some local pubs and watched a few World Cup games until it was time for our flight back to Barcelona. Overall, Prague is one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever seen and I would definitely go back someday to see more of it. It was very interesting to experience the culture of the Czech Republic and to see a different region of Europe.
6/19/18 – Costa Brava
This weekend we set off to explore the region of Spain called Costa Brava. Costa Brava is an area that encompasses the Northern coast of Spain and reaches the border of France. The coast is filled with turquoise, transparent water and steep cliffs adorned with castles and white-washed buildings. For the first portion of our trip, we went to Figueres, a small town a few miles inland from the coast. In Figueres, we went to the Salvador Dali museum. Salvador Dali is a world renowned surrealist artist who was born in Figueres. Dali’s museum consists of some of the most extraordinary pieces of art that I have ever seen.
After exploring the museum for a few hours, our group took a short bus ride to Girona. Girona is another inland city that is very well known and important in both Costa Brava and Catalonia. Girona looks like a typical Spanish town from the outside, but when you walk into the city it feels like you’ve stepped back in time into a medieval village. The center of Girona is filled with ancient cobblestone streets and gothic architecture. The main cathedral in Girona is so impressive that it is featured in the TV series, Game of Thrones. There are several other interesting attractions in the old city, such as the arab bathhouses and the city walls that date back to ancient Roman times.
Later that afternoon, we arrived in Tossa Del Mar where we would stay the night. Tossa Del Mar is a famous coastal city with picturesque beaches, great restaurants, and lively nightlife. We spent the remainder of the day on the beach and then spent the night exploring the city. Overall the weekend was wonderful and I enjoyed seeing a different part of Spain. I highly recommend touring through Costa Brava when visiting Spain. When classes wrap up this week, I’ll be travelling to Prague to spend three days exploring the Czech Republic.
6/14/18 – Cooking Time
This past week has been the busiest yet, filled with constant opportunities and activities. We started off the week with a short day trip to Calella, a quiet beach town about an hour north of Barcelona. After soaking up some sun and relaxing, we headed back to the city. Later that night, we visited Park Güell, another one of Gaudi’s incredible creations. We explored the one of a kind park and watched the sun set over Barcelona. The following day, I visited the inside of Sagrada Familia and witnessed the magnificent cathedral from another perspective. If you ever visit Sagrada, make sure you also go into Gaudi’s crypt below the church to get the full experience.
Later in the week, our professor for the Intercultural Management class, Laura Cervi, took us on walking tours of Barcelona’s two most diverse and unique neighborhoods. First, we visited Gracia, a neighborhood filled with young artists, creatives and political activists. The majority of the residents seemed to be young and filled with life. Next, we visited La Raval, another multicultural neighborhood that was a mix of people from all walks of life. La Raval was less touristy and is a good place to learn more about the city. It was interesting to see the contrast between these two parts of the city.
Finally, to wrap up the week, we took a cooking class to learn how to make some authentic Spanish dishes. We spit up into three smaller groups and were tasked to make three staples of Spanish cuisine. With the help of some chefs, we cooked paella, tortillas de patatas, and a Spanish creme brulee. Paella is a Spanish rice and vegetable dish cooked in a large pan, usually with chicken or seafood. Tortillas de patatas are omelets comprised of onions and potatoes – a must have when visiting Spain. After the cooking was done, we ate on a balcony overlooking a beautiful city square. The cooking class was one of my favorite activities we have done so far.
6/8/18 – Sagrada Familia
The first full week has finally come to a close, and it has been incredible. The past week started off with orientation and immersion into the classes that I will be taking at the Institute for American Universities (IAU) in Barcelona. For the next five weeks, I will be taking Intercultural Management and Global Marketing classes. Our professors, Laura Cervi and Juan Morillo, are very knowledgeable and experienced. I’m excited to study business from an international perspective.
In-between classes, I have been exploring the expansive city of Barcelona. I have already visited Antoni Gaudi’s spectacular cathedral, the Sagrada Familia, several times. It is my favorite attraction I have seen thus far. It combines nearly every art form that one can imagine to create one of the most magnificent buildings that I have seen. The cathedral has been under construction for the past 136 years, and it is expected to be finished in the year 2026.
On sunny days, our group will take a 40-minute train ride to the laid-back beach town of Sitges and relax. Sitges is the perfect place to escape the busy city life of Barcelona. Additionally, whenever a big group gets together, we will walk up to the Bunkers of Carmel – a number of old underground military bunkers that offer the best view of the city – and enjoy breathtaking views as the sun sets over the city.
6/2/17 – First Impressions
I finally arrived in Barcelona last night after 14 hours of travel. I met up with some of my friends I knew and we got a taxi to our apartment. The apartments were spacious, modern and in a perfect central location. My expectations were already high for this trip and seeing the apartment and the city for the first time completely surpassed what I previously thought.
Once we got settled in, our group headed out to a dinner at a local restaurant called La Capricciosa. The meal that followed featured endless platters of exceptional Spanish cuisine. The food and company made for a very fun and memorable night. We spent the remainder of the night exploring the city and enjoying the nightlife.
After only one night here, I can already tell that I am going to love Barcelona. I’m ecstatic about what’s in store for the next six weeks and I can’t wait to discover more of the city.