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 travel 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.