A Taste of Spain: Sarah Pomerantz Profile

Most of us have dream vacations—often to some remote tropical island or sandy resort. For junior international business major Sarah Pomerantz, that dream vacation involved the hustle and bustle of city life and a fairly dramatic language barrier.

For three months out of her fall semester, Pomerantz studied at Universitat de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. She balanced her school obligations with visits to top tourist locations all across Spain, including Madrid and Valladolid. She event stopped by Marrakesh, Morocco when she had the time for a longer trip.

“The sites were always on my to-see list,” Pomerantz said. “When I saw my study abroad provider had a program there, I had my heart set on it.”

Barcelona acted as Pomerantz’ center of operations. She lived in an apartment with her host family—two parents in their 40s, their 15-year-old daughter and a dog.

Pomerantz was no stranger to Spain. She visited the country for two weeks in high school, though that time was spent just outside of Madrid.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona,” Pomerantz said.

For Pomerantz, the biggest culture shock was the language. She said she considered herself fluent up until she was thrust into the city of Barcelona, where English is no longer the standard.

“The language was really hard at first,” the junior said. “I thought I was good at Spanish, but my Spanish definitely needed to improve for me to survive in the city and with my host family.”

One of Pomerantz’ favorite places in Barcelona was a café-bakery called “Brunch and Cake.” The junior said she frequented the location to try all sorts of sweets.

“After my friends and I had our lunch and ‘siesta time’ we would meet up and split different types of cake,” Pomerantz said.

Pomerantz got a taste of home as well—her mother flew over from the states twice to see the sights with her daughter as a tour guide.

“It was really cool to show her parts that had become some of my favorite parts of the city,” Pomerantz said.

Another place she enjoyed was the Sagrada Familia, the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. Pomerantz visited the famous site three times over the course of her stay.

“Each time I found a different piece to explore,” Pomerantz said.

Sometimes, it was impossible to escape the crowds. With political drama in Catalonia, Spain was a land of demonstrations and action.

“It was very impactful to see the demonstrations […] and see the activism the students had,” Pomerantz said.

Now that she’s back in Pennsylvania, Pomerantz carries the memories of her trip in different ways. There are, of course, the ones that pop in her mind when she recalls how different Spain was, comparing Barcelona’s fast-paced city life to the laid-back environment at E-town. She also printed a book with photographs and descriptions of her adventures abroad, including an Outfit Of The Day page and plenty of pictures of delicious, authentic Spanish cuisine.

So, if you see a brightly-dressed student in a Barcelona beanie on campus, she’ll be more than happy to regale you with tales of good food and great experiences abroad.