Melon District Marina: The Right Residence Hall for You

When given the opportunity to study abroad in any city, international students have to make the decision where they want to gain the best all-round experience. Barcelona houses many people and is becoming one of the most popular places for Americans and international students to study and live for several months at a time. Barcelona recently surpassed the 7.5 million-tourist mark for the first time and according to goabroad.com Spain is currently home to 25,000 American ‘study abroad’ students. Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city with 1.5 million people in 10 districts. Most tourists like to stay in the most popular area which is downtown Barcelona. Another popular area to stay in is near the Barcelona beaches, which are in the Sant Marti district. Here many like to stay in beach neighborhoods called Vila Limpica, Poblenou or Diagonal Mar. This area is generally a mix of 19th century industrial neighborhoods currently being transformed into new modern residential areas with hi-tech business facilities. It is important for whoever may be the tourist visiting Barcelona, or an international student to find accommodation in which they will feel comfortable and safe in during their time in this incredible city.

A great option international student is the Melon District Marina. This is located near the Poblenou neighborhood and very close to the beach. It is the biggest residence in Barcelona and is a unique budget accommodation option for short or long trips to the city. Melon District Marina is utilized as a University Residence and hostel and it is located in Carrer de Sancho de Avila, 22 and it is 1.2 miles from the Plaça de Catalunya. Melon district marina also is only a five-minute walk from the metro red line stop and there are usually taxi cabs parked outside of the front of the building.

This Recidencia offers double and twin bed rooms for daily stays with a private bathroom, free Wi-Fi, and a shared cooking lounge. Each Room has a comfortable bed and every guest gets their own bathroom. The kitchen lounge is shared where people can socialize and relax and meet the rest of their hall mates. One of the hallmarks for the Melon District Marina are the common areas where they are friendly communal spaces and each are designed to encourage03-01-turista-marina-presentacion-galeria14.jpg new connections and friendships. A lot of international students are actually mixed in with local students who go to University in the city. The cooking lounge is an end of each hallway and is shared between 10 people living on the same floor. It is equipped with a fridge with separate compartments, a freezer, a stove, a flat screen TV and Wi-Fi. There are also 4 terraces on each of the four buildings of melon that overlook the beautiful views of Barcelona. During the summer months the pools are available to use. If a guest needs to get work done, Melon Marina also offers a meeting lounge located on the first floor of Building A. Melon has 4 buildings A, B, C, D and they all have a communal kitchen in each hallway and a terrace at the top of the building. Melon Marina also has a Melon Café, where you can enjoy self-service breakfast lunch or dinner. Melon café also has free Wi-Fi and has a take away service.

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One of the most important qualities that Melon Marina offers is the reception staff. The reception staff has a superb reputation from many reviews online. The reception staff is on duty for 24 hours a day and let their guests check in at anytime after 3pm. If a guest arrives early in the morning, a luggage room is available for storage. One might think that a receptionist might have an easy job, but at the Melon District Marina it is a full time job and it can get quite complicated. There are some times where there is a rush hour of people trying to all check in at once, which can be very difficult for the Melon staff to deal with at one time.

Melon district has magnetic keys, which are distributed to all the guests for maximum safety. It can be very frustrating when a guest looses a key and has to go to the front desk and purchase another one. There are many skills required for a receptionist, and it is not an easy job of just answering the phone. At Melon Marina they have a reputable staff that has to deal with almost 500 guests at one time. The receptionists at Melon Marina have to: choose rooms hand out keys, make payments and prepare bills, answer questions dealing with special requests and complaints from guests. Melon Marina is such a cultural mix of people that sometimes problems arise when it comes to hospitality service due to some cultural differences. The receptionists at Melon Marina have to be able to deal with rude and unreasonable guests because maybe some of them are not patient and not used to a different cultural environment such as their own.  All of the receptionists at Melon have great customer service skills, a professional and friendly telephone manner, patience and the ability to stay calm under pressure and look after several things at once. Some of the receptionists at Melon Marina can speak up to 5 languages which is extremely impressive and it can be very useful when it comes to dealing with foreign guests. One of the biggest issues of being a receptionist at Melon Marina is the amount of people that check in at once. That can be very overwhelming and stressful to sign such a large amount of people in at once.

Another great aspect to living in Melon Marina is the high security that the Recedencia provides. There is always a security guard after 11 pm watching to see whom signs people in and out to make sure everyone is a guest. If someone is not staying is living in Melon Marina and brings home a guest, it is a required for that guest to sign in a hand in their license. This is to insure they are not a threat to the rest of the Melon District residences. Also Every Melon guest is administered a Melon card, which allows access to the room and all of the buildings. At the front of the Melon building entrance there are sliding doors that requires the key for easy access.

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Overall, The Melon Marina district is a great option for international travelers and is very accommodating to US students studying abroad in Barcelona. The central location, great atmosphere and prestigious staff of receptionists will make one feel like Barcelona is their second home. Melon District residences provide a great combination of security and social life and have had guests from all over Spain and up to 50 other countries. This residence is recommended to travelers who are on a budget and to Americans who want to gain the fullest experience from studying abroad in Barcelona.

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Valentí Sanjuan

14375066654242.jpgLast Wednesday on the 22nd , our class got to listen to a guest speaker named Valentí Sanjuan. He mostly talked to our class about all of the different careers he has had throughout the years and how through all of his different career paths he has made a living though digital journalism. He first asks our class what defines journalism. In the simplest terms he says, journalism is when you have a story to tell. He tells our class that he is infact his own boss as of now but has many other careers throughout the years. Valentí tells us he started his career doing mainstream journalism at a radio station titled “Vist i no vist” where he worked in the newsroom. This radio station had other ideas for the future so Valentí did not renew his contract and found another way of living.

Vantí decied  to start a show which by live streaming which as not a very popular way for using technology at this time. He was supposed by beer brands, (a promoter)  which was another type of boss he had to work for besides himself. The beer brands would give away free beers which helped gather a larger audience for the new show. His audience was a very relaxed crowd who drank beer and talked about the internet while Valentí was talking on the radio to the audience.

Valentí became so successful after his first few jobs because he took a normal show via the internet instead of the radio. He then got to the point because of its popularity to mix the show with a television show. This was more of a comedy television show and he had to be more interactive with the audience. The show did not do well at first so he came up with another idea and came up with another show called images-5.jpegVisto Lo Visto and this was almost a spanish stand up comedy show. This show had comedians, interviews with famous youtubers and musicians. This was different then his first original plan which was just himself and one camera where he did his own photo journalism.

Valentí also stated a personal Youtube account that has a big fan following. He is a very successful Ironman competitor and goes around the world with the intention of doing difficult sport competitions in each city he goes to.  His youtube account has videos of his Ironman successes which has a huge following because he films himself overcoming hard obstacles which represents some of the hard moments he has faced in his lifetime. The iron man videos show him dealing with the pain and overcoming his obstacles though perseverance.

url.jpgAfter hearing Valentí speak I found him very inspiring when it comes to choosing a career path. He is a very successful man but he had to explore different areas of work involving digital journalism before he found out what he truly loves to do for a profession. Valentí told us that journalism is a way of story telling and he uses his life journey as a way of expressing meaning to his viewers and this is how he gets such a large following. Overall he has sucessful been a influencer for many people because he takes advantage of social media and reach out to individuals and created a large fan base for whatever he is promoting.

Citizen Journalism

Citizen Journalism is basically the collection and analysis of news by the public using cell phones, blogs, cameras, and social media platforms. There has been a rise in citizen journalism recently due to the growth of communication tools and technology. Through social media websites such as Twitter , Facebook, LinkedIn and other blogs citizens can report their own experiences and eye witness accounts. Citizen journalism is a very important type of journalism especially in the modern digital age that we live in. Ordinary people who are not qualified journalists can post to any sort of social media platform and report the news.

Citizen journalism provides the community with a different perspective. It also helps citizens get more engaged in the issues that might affect their community and lives. A citizen journalist has the power to coverage certain events that the main media mainstream media might miss. It gives people the chance to report what happens at that very moment and helps reach out to friends and family to report local or worldly news.

Some issues that might be linked to citizen journalism are that citizen journalists have no formal training in reporting and some risks might include reporting nonfactual information. Citizens also do not have any ethics in training and might not be able to handle certain situations that arise. Also it is hard to actually define what “news” really is and what deems importance in reporting certain “news” stories.

An example of citizen journalism is a tweet from Janis Krums who was one of the first witnesses of the landing of the plane in the hudson river. He was even contacted by Mike Beyman, a producer from CNBC who wanted to hear about Janis Krums experience of first hand witnessing the landing of the plane on the Hudson river.

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The growth of citizen journalism has even reduced the amount of traditional newspapers and and news outlets as the main source of current events. This is because citizens can easily access social media platforms and post exactly what they witness in an instant. They can report their own “news” and allow other citizens be evolved on what the see. Now traditional media outlets have tried to harness the power of citizen journalism through collaboration with user generated content and social media. An example of cooperation between media outlet and citizen journalism is CNN’s I report. This is where users can submit videos, audio and photos from their computer or I-phone to have their stories shared on CNN’s network television and website. This is a way that CNN harnesses citizen journalism and to convey different perspectives on news stories that the traditional media does not allow.

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The Vegetarian Life Style: Abroad Edition

I have in fact been a vegetarian for almost 9 years now and it always catches people off guard. People always ask me how do you do it? Do you miss meat? Why did you choose to be a vegetarian? I have been getting these questions for years and I am used to them.  When I told people I was a vegetarian and I was going to Barcelona people looked at me like I was crazy.

I have made it this far right? Why would it be harder in another country? Well it has been a little bit of challenge but so far so good. Studying abroad as a vegetarian can be tricky and sometimes frustrating but after living in Barcelona for a few months I will share with you my top tips for vegetarians studying abroad.

First off, wherever you are studying abroad please learn how to say “I can’t eat meat”. Since I am studying abroad in Barcelona I say: No puedo comer carne. I have learned that it is better to say can’t rather than don’t. If worse comes to worse a little white lie never hurts and you could go to the extent of saying you have an allergy and make a choking gesture.

My second tip to you fellow vegetarians is to research vegetarian BEFORE you travel. You will be surprised how many places have great vegetarian food. I actually took my friend who is a huge meat eater to a vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona and still to this day claims it as her favorite. Yelp and Trip Advisor also have great recommendations that your meat eater friends will enjoy also!

I also suggest to shop at the local markets for organic fruits and vegetables as much as you can! In big cities local markets have little food stands that have great vegetarian food. Look up a local market wherever you are studying abroad and go check it out! My favorite market in Barcelona is La Boqueria. It is also a great way to save money to eat locally.

Food prepping is also a great idea for long traimages-1.jpgvel days. I think its smart to always be prepared for a flight bus or train ride. Usually public transportation is not vegetarian friendly so pack up fresh fruit and veggies and sandwiches before you leave. Nothing is worse then traveling on an empty stomach…..nothing….

Barcelona to me is “the land of ham” and I have had to face some challenges when it comes to my vegetarian diet. When I am at a  very meat oriented restaurant in Barcelona,  I have gotten to love a traditional Catalan food  such as:”pan con tomate”. This is  bread, olive oil, tomatoes and salt.

  • Overall through this experience of being a vegetarian abroad I have learned to not set expectations for something without experiencing it first. At first thought I would have a difficult time finding foods to satisfy my diet in Barcelona, however now that I am living here that is not the case at all! I wish my fellow veggies good luck and I hope these tips helped. La_Boqueria.JPG

Stop Snapchatting..you are abroad!

Okay disclaimer: I love snapchat I do not have a problem with it, but here is an opinion piece on why its time for people to start looking up from their phones during their time abroad.url.png

I always try to imagine my parents studying  abroad in college. I always picture my mom walking in the Louvre in Paris, seeing the Mona Lisa and simply taking a mental picture of the painting. My things have changed. Snapchat is a great way to keep in touch with friends, family and see what everyone is up to. There comes a point when someone is snap chatting everything they do and its just down right ridiculous. Snapchat now has a filter for almost every location and sometimes I start to think: Are people really enjoying the tower of pisa? Or are they just excited to get a new filter to add to their story? I really think my generation is getting too dependent on snapchat and having to document their every move to feel accomplished. What happened to the old days of just having a mental picture and enjoying the view? I am guilty of snap chatting when I honestly should just enjoy the moment.

To study abroad is an amazing experience and not everyone is able to travel across the pond for a semester. I am here all the way in Barcelona! I sometimes still can not believe that I am studying abroad in such a beautiful city. I have had dinners in Barcelona where the main activity is snapchat and Instagram and the dinner was almost dead silent because everyone was on their phone. This should not be the case! Studying abroad is about meeting people and making friends with people you thought you could never make friends with. Studying abroad is about embracing the different culture and observing your settings around you. I am not saying snapchat is evil-but your face should not be stuck in your phone. I sometimes feel as if my friends only care about what other people are doing rather than themselves.

Although on occasion I think Snapchat can be useful for traveling. If you see a beautiful city please capture it on video. To me snapchat is not a memory, its merely few seconds with a countdown and then it is gone forever.  No one gains anything by doing this and nothing is learned. To me it is lost time that could of been used for deep conversations and genuine human connection.

I am going to blink and soon my semester abroad in Barcelona will be over. I do not want my memories to be staring at a phone-I want real memories that will be kept safely  in my mind forever.

If you are reading this I challenge you to delete your snapchat for a week if you are also studying abroad. I can promise you that you will discover so many more friendships and see so many more beautiful sites without this app.

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How to Not Gain the “Foreign 15” in Barcelona

images.jpgAs I am writing this, I am currently studying abroad in Barcelona and I am seriously loving life. I am making new friends, trying things out. I tell my self: This is an eleven in a life time experience, I can eat anything I want! Some days I wonder if I am gaining weight and I feel a bit unhealthy so I decide to switch up my Abroad life style and make some healthy choices. I would like to know if you can study abroad and do not gain the “Foreign 15”? I decided to test my self for these past weeks-and it turns out it’s possible! I will list a few tips that I have followed and they have really helped me out.

I decided to make my own meal plan and only ate out twice a week at the most. I found a local grocery store and started stocking up on healthy items that were easy to cook and snack on. I used to eat out up to 5 times a week and order Glovo, and after I took advantage of the local grocery store I already feel healthier.

Barcelona is very much a walking city. The first few weeks here, I did not want to walk anywhere because I was convinced I was going to get lost. Now I made a deal with my self to take the metro once a day and WALK home from classes, the grocery store, Placa de Catalyna, etc. I have seen such a difference since I am walking almost everywhere. It is such a beautiful city with gorgeous weather and sometimes it is okay to get lost. I have gotten lost many times and I always find something interesting or a beautiful building that I would have crossed if I did not get lost.

Alcohol is a killer. I will be honest with you guys, when I first got here I was going out more than my mother would have liked me too … which was too much. There are so many calories in one drink. I decided to limit myself to two drinks whenever I went out. Plus, it is better to be the sober friends then the drunk stupid friend. Drinking smart applies to the day time also. I carry a water bottle with me wherever I go so I never get dehydrated. It is so easy to fill up at cafes, museums, or fountains and staying hydrated really helps you keep your weight in check.

Another way to keep a steady weight in Barcelona is to just explore! Last weekend, I grabbed a couple of friends and we all hiked Montserrat! It was hard work but the view was worth it and I am planning on doing it a few more times actually!

Overall, studying abroad is about finding yourself and experiencing things you have never experienced before. Do not worry so much about “The Foreign 15” and follow some of these basic healthy tips I suggested and you should be fine! So what if you gain a few pounds?16831210_10155021551657556_722277411341443193_n.jpg

This is me at Montserrat !