Imagine you’ve just arrived to Barcelona for your semester abroad. You’re mind is probably all over the place trying to think of the first thing you should do. Before you can even begin to think about having fun, you need to get settled in and figure out what is up in this new city.
Our idea arose from these first few moments and days in the city of Barcelona, which were filled with confusion. During this time, we were experiencing some culture shock, but more so, we were clueless as to how we should go about our daily lives. The once simple tasks, like: going out to eat, looking up something on our phone, or even exercising were now completely foreign to us. We wondered why hadn’t our abroad institution provided us with a survival guide of sorts before our journey began.
When we started working, we began to brainstorm and think back to those first days in our new country. What would have made the transition, that much easier? It was not hard to find things that all of us struggled with, and we were able to devise some useful tips that would hopefully help future students with the problems we once faced.
For instance, our guide includes valuable tips for finding the right cell phone plan and the best gym membership for you. Furthermore, Barcelona is a major metropolitan city, so we thought it would be wise to educate on its public transportation system.. One of the problems we did not foresee was how complex taking out money from our American bank accounts could be. For this reason, we included some helpful tips for accessing money. Lastly, we felt the necessity to provide information on Barcelona’s restaurant culture and etiquette, as well as, some of the language basics of Spanish, because without these it is very easy to make oneself stand out.
Our hope is that students utilize our guide during their stay and it eases their transition into a new country. However, we also would like to encourage anyone who reads it, to provide feedback and possible improvements to the information we came up with. If this goal is accomplished, students for future semesters will be able to know the ins-and-outs of Barcelona before the even step off the plane!
1. What is the action
The main goal of our action is to provide future IES BArcelona students with information that we would have found useful when we arrived. We compiled information on a variety of subjects and created a pamphlet which will be distributed as a sustainable .odt document to students.. Firstly, we included some useful online resources for Spanish, as well as a list of useful phrases for navigating in Spanish restaurants. Next we included information on the most efficient Metro Pass, the T-Jove pass, and the requirements to purchase it. We also included information about different ways of wiring money from the US to Spain. Lastly we created a prototype of a database for the L1 metro line which would allow people to filter stations by various fields. All aspects of this project could be continued by future students.
1.1. SWOT Analysis
Could be continued by future students
Documents are online so they are environmentally friendly
As of right now the database isn’t available offline
Future students could add to the project
IES could have a hand in distribution, potentially even include it in the handbook
Students might not be motivated to acquire the pamphlet
What can you do to get rid of the weaknesses?- We can find a way to make it accessible online.
Why couldn't you redesign anything to avoid them?- We didn’t have the time or knowledge.
What can you do to prevent yourself/your action from the potential effect of the threats?- We can come up with an effective way to advertise.
1.2. Feedback loops
We do this project +=> People use it +=> Students have an advantage when they arrive +=> Students acclimate easily upon arrival and enjoy IES abroad +=> Departing students tell their friends about IES ===++> People use it
We can post a link on the Facebook Group or ask IES to send out a mass email.
2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?
This project is sustainable in a number of ways. In terms of the environment we made all of our documents on the computer so they won’t waste paper like they would if we printed them out. The database also encourages using the metro which is sustainable. Providing students with advantages when they arrive increases their resilience and freely sharing information is sustainable. We also created a reinforcing feedback loop which is sustainable. We are also using the principle of copyleft.
2.1. Potential Costs
How much money per student and per semester is required for each action and subaction in your design? No money is required for the action.
How much time per student and per semester is needed? Time from Students, from IES Abroad Staff, from external people. If it is continued then time will need to be devoted to the project but if students only make use of it then it should only take a few minutes to download the document and maybe print it.
3. How will you implement it
3.1. Prototype (or Proof of Concept)
We created a document and started a prototype of the database.
3.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design
Our design is “Cradle to Cradle” because we are not printing it out for students. If, eventually, it is included in the handbook then maybe the project could include a way to recycle them.
3.3. Relationship with the Other initiatives being implemented
Our project isn’t directly related to any others but it is similar to the nitbus group and the restaurant guide group because we are all providing advice to survive in Barcelona but our`s is unique in that we provide a comprehensive guide of metro stops in a database as well as advice and resources for living in the city. Perhaps in the future all of our information could be combined.
3.4. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?
We have already created the document and started the database and they can easily be continued in the coming semesters. As it does not require any money beyond printing balance it will not be difficult to convince students to use it or even contribute to it.
4. Time-sheet / Chronogram
Write it in a "recipe style" to guide students from future semesters to implement you action easily.
In rows, who will do what; In columns, months of the year. In the cells, the codes for each subaction described in the report.
This is to schedule the action for the next semester, not to report what you did this semester regarding this action. You are designing an action to be sustained over time, and this report is the outline of what needs to be done and by whom in next semesters to continue your action
4.1. What has been done this semester?
A copy of the Barcelona Language and Culture Guide is included in the page on the sustainability course website.
4.2. What needs to be done to repeat the action in the future?
Students would be informed of the existence of our language and culture guide by IES staff such as Xavier DePedro or Eli Ferreiro.
Any student will be able to access the document online and download it.
The students could make suggestions and improvements to the document through the years and continuously update and improve the information.
Future students can conduct surveys and find out what additions are desired in the brochure.
5. Document format
We made our document an .odt file because it is more sustainable than a word doc.
And the database is in html, produced from a PHP/Mysql application based on Tiki that can be reused and extended in the future as needed to make updated and improved versions when/where needed.
Some of the useful phrases were taken from a handout that Jeremy received in his Spanish class (Sp351i with Rosa Brion) during orientation week. We don´t know if she made it or not.
The information about the T-Jove card was taken from the TMB website: http://www.tmb.cat/ca/home
The locations of the metro stations for the database came from google maps.
The information about AltaFit Diagonal - http://altafit.es/gimnasio-club-altafit-diagonal-esp/
The information about DiR Barcelona - http://www.dir.cat/en/clubs-dir/dir-diagonal
The information about Anytime Fitness - http://www.anytimefitness.com/
The information about Orange was gathered from personal experience and via - http://www.orange.es/
The information about Vodafone - http://www.vodafone.es/particulares/es/
Inforation about CDMA and GSP - http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407896,00.asp by Sasha Segan on February 3, 2015 at 10:06 AM
Information about Verizon International Plans - http://www.verizonwireless.com/landingpages/global-services/
Information about AT&T International Plans - http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international.html
- Go to the database itself tracker24
Documentation about this Web Database system:
7.1. Copyright license of your report
We did not use any pictures in our project and we choose an attribution, noncommercial, share-alike license. We feel that this is the most sustainable because we want to let other people use it as long as we receive credit and we don´t want people taking our information and copyrighting it themselves with all rights reserved. We chose non-commercial because we feel that people shouldn't profit from or charge people for our work.
7.2. What did you learn and what did you incorporate from the feedback received?
We incorporated a great deal of feedback and advice from Professor DePedro, especially concerning the database.
We would like to acknowledge Professor DePedro for advising us throughout our project. Also Open office for allowing us to make a sustainable document.
7.4. Students involved in this action
Ben Laub- Gyms, Cell service
David costlow- Restaurant guide, Useful Phrases, Resources for learning spanish
Jeremy Pozner- Money guide, Metro pass, Database prototype