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A Day in the Life

Students share a typical day on the Knox Program in Barcelona

A student stretches after making the trip to the top of the mountains of the Gracia."Polo, Punctuality, and 'Pito Pito Colorito'": A Day in the Life on the Knox Program in Barcelona
by Noah Rosenberg, Tufts University

9:15 a.m. -- Your alarm is going off, time to get up! (But if you're like me, you hit snooze at least three times.)

9:27 a.m. -- You finally get out of bed, stick your feet into your cozy slippers (since shoes in the house are a taboo, unless you're an outsider -- and you're like a member of the family now), wash up, sleepily throw on some clothes and head into the kitchen for breakfast: a glass of milk and three little muffins called "magdalenas." Then grab your book bag, yell "adeo" -- in my case, it's to Polo, the best cook this side of the Mississippi -- and you're off.

10:15 a.m. -- After meandering through about 15 blocks of Barcelonan bakeries, shops and markets, you arrive (usually a few minutes late, but who's counting, right?) at the UB. Inside a classroom for about the next hour and 15 minutes, you're captivated (usually... I mean, after all it is still school) by anecdotes of Cataluñan and Spanish history, as professors pull you into discussions on authors, literature, politics, art, or the next weekend excursion destination. Today, they tell me that my absence in Monday's class due to my Amsterdam trip was "vale la pena" (worth it).

11:30 a.m. -- Now it's time for a little break until your next (and last!) class of the day. Depending on what the night before had in store, you either head down to the beach (or more artificial climes depending on the weather) or head back to the piso for a siesta (even though Polo jokingly tells me they're only for niños). Now would be a perfect time for an e-mail catch-up session or a phone call home.

5:00 p.m. -- After your little break, if you're like me, you head to the gym, where you're somehow convinced to partake in a spinning session led by an instructor who could probably combat Lance Armstrong in the mountains of France.

9:00 p.m. -- You arrive home to "que punctual eres!" (How punctual you are!) -- my host mother loves punctuality -- and an incredible meal that leaves you counting down the time 'til 9 p.m. the next night.

10:00 p.m. -- You go to a bar down the street to watch the F.C. Barcelona (or "barça" as you affectionately call them, 'cause you can do that now), along with everyone else who would willingly give an arm to see their team win the league, or at least see Real Madrid lose. After the fireworks display (you think I'm kidding) you head home...or stay out; I usually do a little "pito pito colorito" (eeny meeny miny mo) to decide. And then you do it all over again the next day -- minus the barça game. (Unfortunately, they only have the chance to catapult the entire Catalan nation into ecstasy once a week.)

-- Noah Rosenberg, English and Spanish double major, Stamford, Connecticut

From Dawn to Disco: Life, Barcelona style
by Nina Neitzke

8:30 a.m. Here Comes the Sun
Wake up! Hit the alarm. Eat some cereal or toast and jam and head to the University of Barcelona, which is near the apartment where you live with your wonderful host family -- for me, it's only a twenty-minute walk. Sure, the subway's great, but wouldn't you much rather enjoy the sun?

9:30 Hit the Calles
Barcelona is bustling! On your walk to the UB, almost all the shops and bakeries are open, and the streets buzz with buses, cars, taxis, and "motos," (mopeds and motorcycles). When you arrive, you do the first thing any other college kid would do -- hit the caf. Just outside, you pick up a copy of "20 Minutos," a free Barcelona newspaper, and scan the headlines until class starts. You can't wait to get back to hearing more about Spanish architecture in your Spanish Art class -- after all, in Barcelona, the best of it is all around you!

2 p.m. Time for Lunch: Hope You're Hungry!
After class, you go to the cafeteria to eat the lunch the señora you live with has made you: bocadillos, (like the Spanish version of a submarine sandwich) and mandarin oranges. On other days you go straight home and eat lunch there. If you're used to eating the typical American noon-time lunch, it takes a little getting used to eating lunch between two and three. But there's plenty to go around. Lunch courses are served in large portions and are very filling -- like rice and lentils or spaghetti, followed by steak or chops -- which is good because dinner doesn't come around in Spain til 9 p.m. It's Friday, and since there are no classes, you do what you want, maybe like to go to a yoga class or to the gym. Or do something else with your body -- like nap!

6 p.m. Make New Friends
It's time for one of your "intercambios" -- language exchanges where you meet with a native Spanish speaker who is learning English and chat, half the time in Spanish and half in English. You meet some really interesting and fun people through these intercambios, and they quickly become good friends. Sometimes on the weekends you go to museums or movies together, or your new friends take you to explore their favorite parts of the city.

9 p.m. Dinner is Served...
...and as with lunch, it's late but great! But dinner courses are lighter and smaller than lunch. Tonight it's chicken soup followed by "tortilla," (kind of like an omelette). Mmmmmm. My señora often makes me a salad after dinner, and dessert at home is always fruit. But restaurants serve things like ice cream, chocolate cake, or crema catalana, kind of like a vanilla pudding with a layer of caramelized sugar on top. (Which makes that fruit look a little pale in comparison...)

After dinner, on weekdays, your read or do homework before going to bed between eleven and midnight. But this is the weekend -- so you leave shortly after dinner to meet up with friends: destination discotech!

-- Nina Neitzke, Educational Studies and Spanish major, Bartlett, Illinois

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