Sarah Ryan from Donohill diving in Barcelona
My name is Sarah Ryan and I’m 20 years old. I’m a student from Donohill near Tipperary Town, doing a Bachelor of Arts in English and New Media in UL. I will be teaching English abroad in Spain until the end of June and writing about my adventures for The Nationalist.
When faced with the reality of living in Spain for five months, the time seemed infinite. Endless amounts of work days followed by endless weekends. It was easy to put off adventures for the “next weekend”.
Suddenly four months fly by and I realise all those “next weekends” were now limited to just four. What was I going to do with this time? How should I spend my last few weekends?
Together with two friends, we devised a four-week plan in which we filled our final weekends with everything we could possibly fit from water parks to scuba-diving, cable cars to art museums, and aquariums to festivals on the beach.
The first weekend trip involved, which turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life, scuba-diving.
We were given a tutorial on how to use the diving equipment and techniques such as how to clear your goggles of water if they began to leak. Nothing though could have prepared me for the utter silence that hits once you’re several metres under the sea. It was so strange but completely mesmerizing at the same time. We swam among what could only have been thousands of fish and even found a baby octopus. The whole experience was just magical. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
The second trip was to a water park. Honestly, this was the activity I was most apprehensive about but loved all the same. I even went on one of those slides where you climb all the way to the top, stand into a tube and wait for the attendant to press a button which drops the floor out from under you, sending you down on an almost vertical drop. I was terrified to do it but I always wanted to and I’m so glad I did. There was even this giant pool where they made artificial waves. The pool was so deep and the waves so high it was crazy. We spent hours there and could have spent much more if it wasn’t for the fact we got hungry and went on the quest for food.
The third trip was to the cable cars in Barcelona and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. Both experiences were incredible. The trip in the cable cars gave a new and intriguing view of Barcelona, one which is not achievable through merely wandering the streets. Not to mention the art museum in all its glory with high ceilings, domed roofing and vast amounts of art.
Taking the Barcelona cable car.
The fourth and final trip involved an aquarium and our final nights in Spain. We travelled into Barcelona and spent almost two hours trying to find the aquarium thanks to my awful directions which caused us to get a more expanded tour of Barcelona. We spent our final day and night together first at work, then at our final meal (all twenty something of us). From there we headed to the beach in the village were the locals were having a festival. They burned all the old fire wood in giant bonfires and then launched fireworks from the beach. It was a truly beautiful way to end our time there.
The following day however, began the goodbyes to people whom I had been living and working with for the past five months and it was a lot harder than I could have imagined. I had to say goodbye to people whom I’d become so close to in those short months. Not to mention saying goodbye to my new closest friend and roommate who ended up leaving on an earlier flight to me. That separation was heartbreaking.
However, no matter how hard it was to say goodbye, that whole experience was worth it. I would leave in a moment’s notice if I could. I’m sitting here at home writing this reminiscing about my five months abroad, looking out into the rain and realizing that I cannot wait to leave again.
A view over Barcelona
Leaving Ireland was the best thing I could have ever done. It opened my mind and heart to new experiences and challenges and has made me hungry for more. I now crave new experience, new cultures.
The count down for me to finish my degree and leave Ireland is on and I cannot wait to finally grab that piece of paper, book the first flight out and just go.
Read Part 5 of Sarah's adventure here