Meet Bri Hopkins. This Tustin, CA native and University of Oklahoma Alpha Phi is always the life of the party. So imagine her bliss when she spent 8 weeks in one of the most lively cities in Europe... Barcelona, Spain.
Catching up with this bright and bubbly friend is always a treat, but sharing our travel stories is the absolute best. Recently, I interviewed Bri on her time in "Barca" and she never fails to tell a good story and have some awesome local advice. Check out her time abroad filled with VIP clubs, trips to the French Riviera, and dancing until the sun comes up.
Okay, Bri. As always it is an absolute joy catching up with you. I know we always swap stories about our time abroad, but I really want to hear more! So what inspired you to go to Barcelona?
Okay so from the beginning of my freshman year I totally wanted to go abroad since I had never really been outside of the U.S. before. My brother went abroad and he had so much fun and learned so many new things about life and being independent, so I really wanted to have that same experience. From the start, Barcelona was calling my name. LOL... probably because of my love for the Cheetah Girls and their awesome trip to Barcelona with the beautiful men and music.. but I am minoring in Spanish so I figured why not go to a really cool place and see the beautiful Spanish culture while I also improve my Spanish? After a few meetings with my adviser, I decided on studying with a program called CEA for 8 weeks. It was a program I found online, not through my school so I knew no one going into it!
Adventurous Bri, at it again and going into Europe solo. Typical. I love it! I know you became close with your roommates, so let's hear about your living situation. Did y'all have a good time together?
Okay so while I was living there, I lived in the cutest 5th floor apartment with four roommates. Like I said, besides seeing them on Facebook, I had no idea who I was going to room with. They all ended up being super chill. Every weekend we all traveled together.
Wow okay JEALOUS. You definitely were living the dream. But you know what else is great about Spain... The guys. My last featured Girl Abroad was Katie in Sevilla, Spain who said the Spanish are some of the most beautiful people she has ever seen. Let's hear what you have to say about that.
Boys. Okay. Three words. Tall, dark and handsome. Everywhere we went it was like all the men were models. European men are just so good looking. But sometimes many of these men were extremely forward and a lot of the times we were pretty uncomfortable but just ignored it, they were harmless. When going out to the discos (clubs), I noticed that the men love to dance which was absolutely hilarious, but also really refreshing. There were plenty of funny stories of men on the beaches and in the clubs, but the best thing about them is there love for American women. Every time we went out we got free drinks and free access into VIP. We were not complaining!
VIP access? You were killin' it! Now that you are an expert on the nightlife in Barcelona, tell us about the biggest and best dance and club scenes.
As most people may have heard, the night life in "Barca" (pronounced as Barsa) is incredible. My first night out I was in awe of how big the clubs were and how late they stayed open til. No joke, there were nights we stayed out until 6 a.m., and boy do I not regret it. Those were and probably will be the funnest nights of my life. You didn't even really have to drink to have a good time. The music and atmosphere alone gave off the most fun vibes. Must-go-to clubs: Opium, Razz-Ma-Tazz, Sutton, and Shoko. Fun pregame bars or bars to watch an exciting soccer game: The Room, Pippermint, George Payne, Ovella Negra, and Espit Chupitos. No joke, Espit Chupitos specializes in shots and have over 200 different kinds for 2 euros. When it comes to sight seeing, if it's hot you definitely want to go to the beach, but you want to lay out on the right side of the beach closer to the W hotel. Basically, there's a lot less obnoxious people and homeless people hanging around. Must see places: Las Ramblas (but make sure you watch your pockets and purses here), Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, the Arc de Triomf, Cathedral of Barcelona, the Magic Fountain show, Picasso Museum (ok long line, but worth it), the Gothic Quarter is super cool.
I can totally see you dancing the night away. So besides the awesomeness that is Barcelona, where else in Europe did you get a chance to explore?
Okay, I love Barcelona, but traveling was the best part. I went to the South of France, Portugal, Madrid, Sevilla, Amsterdam, Croatia, Hungary, and Italy (Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome). I seriously didn't have a favorite. They were all so different and wonderful... I know cheesy, but seriously I loved every minute. The food, the people, the beaches... I was totally spoiled. I was lucky enough to meet some relatives in Budapest, Hungary, who didn't speak a word of English but it totally didn't matter. The biggest culture shock was definitely seeing the lifestyle of Amsterdam. From the Red Light district to the "cafes" our jaws were to the ground, but we loved it.
Okay, Miss World Traveler! So incredible you found family is Hungary. That must of been such a cool cultural experience. Last but not least, what are a few tips and tricks you would recommend for other girls abroad?
My first piece of advice for any girl going abroad would be to pack your cute clothes, but don't overpack! You want to be able to bring souvenirs home. Also, if you're going to wear wedges out, bring your cheapest pair. THEY WILL GET RUINED. By the end of your trip you'll need to be able to say goodbye to them. Also, don't bringing too many of your sorority, casual t-shirts. You are not going to want to wear them when you sight see because you are going to want to take pictures that you'll see for the rest of your life, so dress cute! Next piece of advice, do not plan on going on a diet while you're there. The whole point of going abroad is getting the full experience and that includes the amazing food. My biggest and cheesiest piece of advice is to take pictures, take lots of pictures... take the cheesy pictures in front of everything, take pictures of everything you eat and see because one day you'll want to look back at these pictures and reminisce on all of those adventures.