Hi Everyone! My name is Pam and I’m a marketing intern at CISAbroad. This past summer, I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and backpacked around Europe. It all seems like a two-month dream now that it’s passed and I’m here in snowy Northampton!
My experience studying abroad was amazing in every way and a tad different from other students seeing as I identify as queer. Being a member of the LGBTQIA community is something that is a huge part of my life and it was important to me to bring that with me overseas. I wanted to share with you what my experience was like in Barcelona and offer some great things to do in Barcelona for LGBTQIA students who decide that Spain is the study abroad destination for them!
Let me start off by saying that Barcelona, Spain is an amazing place to go for LGBTQIA-identifying individuals. The culture and people are both lively and accepting. Same sex marriage was made legal in Spain in 2005, making it the third country in the world to do so! There is no need to fear being as out (or not!) as you want in Barcelona. It is a safe and welcoming place for people of all identities.
The district of Eixample is affectionately referred to as Gay-xample by many. The area is home to many popular LGBT+ bars, shops, and restaurants. The area is large and is not a strictly gay area, but if you are looking for LGBTQIA destinations, then this is the place to go. You can find fun places to grab something to eat, window shop, or go out dancing with friends! Eixample is also home to many historic sites including La Sagrada Familia and Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Milla.
Want an LGBTQIA-filled day trip? Sitges is just a short 40-minute train ride away and is a popular destination for gay men and women, especially in the summer. Sitges is a vibrant and cultural hub having attracted the likes of Pablo Picasso and Santaigo Rusinol. The city is popular for it’s yearly Carnaval, gay pride, and international film festival. Rainbow flags can be seen sprawling the streets day and night in this cute beach town. Whether you want to spend a day soaking up the sun on the gorgeous beaches, head to a museum, or window shop from the many gay-friendly shops, you won’t be disappointed.
I wanted to experience the LGBTQIA culture in Spain and see what it was all about! One of the most memorable weekends I had in the city was at Barcelona Gay Pride. Barcelona Pride electrifies the city in a a ten-day long affair full of events, activities, conferences, and most notably a parade down one of Barcelona’s busiest streets, Avinguda Paral·lel. I even danced in the parade with friends and almost got pulled onto a float! If you find yourself in Barcelona mid-late June, make sure to make your way over to a pride event. The energy and feeling of community are infectious!
Overall, my experience as a queer student in Barcelona couldn’t have been better. I made friends with LGBTQIA-identified locals, felt comfortable in a city that was accepting of my identity, and was able to explore a part of the culture that is important to me. There are many reasons to love the city of Barcelona, and it’s LGBTQIA friendly atmosphere is just one of them!