iSchool International: Studying abroad in Barcelona

Pablo Quispe

BSIS student Pablo Quispe discusses his study abroad in Barcelona, Spain, a place he selected because of its rich cultural heritage, world-renowned cuisine, and vibrant social scene. So far, he has enjoyed "every second" of his experience. 

Why did you decide to study abroad?

Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine. Back in high school, my friends would take supervised field trips to different parts of the world, where they created lasting memories and developed skills outside of a classroom setting. Ever since, I knew that I wanted to spend time abroad and create my own memories that would last a lifetime. Studying abroad presented an exceptional opportunity for me to achieve my future academic and professional goals. 

Where are you currently studying, and how long is your program?

I'm currently studying in Barcelona, Spain, through Illinois' semester-long Barcelona Study Abroad Experience program. I'm taking courses at two highly acclaimed institutions, the School for International Studies and Universitat Pompeu Fabre Barcelona. Through both institutions' robust academic curriculum, I have been able to take courses that not only complement my major and minor but also align with my interests in international business, innovation, and technology.

Tell me about your experience so far. 

My experience here so far has been extraordinary. I've gained a new appreciation for diversity and become confident to travel on my own. Attending classes within two different institutions allows for me to interact with both local students and international students, and I have created networks that will last a lifetime. Engaging with the local Spaniard culture, I have been able to cook and try amazing food, such as tapas and paella, and learn more about the different cultural beliefs and celebratory customs that occur during the fall season. My favorite experience so far has been witnessing the holiday of La Merce, a celebratory weekend that includes activities such as musical concerts, correfocs (fire runners), parades, castells (human towers), and, at its conclusion, an immense firework display. It was truly a unique experience to learn about and experience firsthand.

Would you recommend study abroad to other students, and if so, why? 

If you have been looking for a sign to study abroad, this is it! I have enjoyed every second of my experience. In my program, the faculty plan excursions for us to visit different parts of Spain and its surrounding barriers, so that we not only get to meet other students but also learn more about the fascinating history and cultures of Europe. My professors have been very accommodating and are willing to work with students if they have questions or concerns outside of class. To top it off, there have been many holidays and extended weekends when I've been able to travel to different parts of Europe.

How has this experience benefited your academic and professional life?

Studying abroad has opened my eyes to a world outside of Western influence. I selected Spain as my host country because of its rich cultural heritage, world-renowned cuisine, and vibrant social scene. The program's focus on experiential learning has allowed me to gain practical experience in my field while being immersed in a new culture. Studying abroad in Barcelona has also helped me develop my Spanish language skills and cultural competency, which I believe are essential in today's global economy. My interactions with people from diverse backgrounds have helped me learn about different Spanish customs and gain a broader understanding of the world outside of the U.S.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Senior Spotlight: Colton Keiser

After graduating with his BSIS degree in May, Colton Keiser will head to St. Louis to work as an internal audit and financial advisory consultant with Protiviti. He gained experience in auditing while working as an intern for the Montgomery County Public Defender in his hometown of Hillsboro, Illinois.

Colton Keiser

Winning exhibit features recipes from across the globe

MSLIS students Yung-hui Chou, Alice Tierney-Fife, and Elizabeth Workman are the winners of this year’s Graduate Student Exhibit Contest, sponsored by the University of Illinois Library. Their exhibit, "Culture and Cuisine in Diaspora: A Hidden Library Collection," displays items from seven campus libraries and highlights research and recreational material centered on traditional recipes from across the globe. The exhibit is on display in the library's Marshall Gallery through the end of April and also available online.

Get to know Michael Ferrer, MSIM student

After spending some time in the defense IT industry, Michael Ferrer decided to return to school for his MSIM degree to gain skills in areas such as data visualization and advance his career. Outside of his studies, Ferrer is a competitive ballroom dancer and member of the Illinois Army National Guard.

Michael Ferrer

ConnectED: Tech for All podcast launched by Community Data Clinic

The Community Data Clinic (CDC), a mixed methods data studies and interdisciplinary community research lab led by Associate Professor Anita Say Chan, has released the first episode of its new podcast, ConnectED: Tech for All. Community partners on the podcast include the Housing Authority of Champaign County, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, Project Success of Vermilion County, and Cunningham Township Supervisor’s Office.

Community Data Clinic podcast logo

Get to know Kyrie Zhixuan Zhou, PhD student

PhD student Kyrie Zhixuan Zhou's goal is to make information and communication technology (ICT) and artificial intelligence (AI) experiences more equitable, accessible, beneficial, and ethical for all. In his free time, he is devoted to helping junior researchers, especially those from populations not typically represented in STEM.

Zhixuan Zhou