Courses / Barcelona Language and Culture Guide

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
Easily distributed

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

1.3. Advertising
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.

6. Bibliography
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

7. Annexes

Map items

List items

Manage Database

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.

7.3. Acknowledgements
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

Image Language And Culture Guide

Feedback from your class mates through the Peer-Review Assignment
Items found: 12
ReviewerThings to keepThings to improve
ajblumenthalThis can be really beneficial at the beginning of the semester. I had trouble with all of these things throughout the semester and it would have been nice to have received one, comprehensible list of all of this when I first arrived.What happens if someone takes the guide off of the wall at IES? How will people be able to share and use it if there are not any there anymore?
ashleyzippermanThe action of this project is very clear and concise. It goes into enough detail as to what the guide will include and how it will be distributed amongst IES. The online pdf version is a great way to keep this project sustainable in not wasting paper.Things I would change would be the idea of putting an overview on one of the metro lines. Instead, I would make it so whatever places (i.e. restaurants, stores, shops, markets) that are listed in the guide would include the closest metro stop nearby. That way it is simple and more purposeful for the viewer. There should also be incentives placed so that this guide does not go unnoticed.
elsagomez08I think this idea can be very useful for students living near the L1 or L3 lines. It would save a lot of time and effort in exploring the area and would allow students to navigate the area with ease. I know that personally I had a hard time finding cheap supermarkets around my neighborhood, so this is definitely something that could be very useful. It think that will a little more development, this initiative could really flourish and be an important tool for future students. Although I really do believe this is a great idea, I think it would only apply to a small amount of students, such as those living in apartments and whom are on the L1 or L3 line. The majority of IES students are in homestays, so the only truly useful part of this concept to them would be the shopping markets, not so much the food or section of it. I think that in order for this initiative to be successful, you must find a way to incorporate more students and have it be applicable to them as well. Think in terms of just focusing on say supermarkets, affordable restaurants, banks etc. throughout the city and finding the nearest metro/bus to it. I think that would apply to most of the IES students and would just overall be more sustainable and useful.
hbesler2I really liked the idea of adding common spanish phrases into the guide because many students (including myself) come here knowing little to know Spanish and I think that would be extremely useful for transitioning into the Barcelona lifestyle.Something you could improve on would be the accessibility. Along with posting a pdf, sending out a mass email directly to the students might also be helpful. That way in case someone doesn't see the pdf, they will still have it in their email.
jhazelwoodThis is a great idea and could provide students who are just starting out with IES with a great way to explore certain neighborhoods and bus lines. It is a good idea to keep the restaurants, work out facilities, and other activities that people could do and develop during their time in Spain.I think this is a great idea as a whole, but maybe after you provide the specific information for these neighborhoods you could give tips on how students can go about exploring unknown neighborhoods and the general ways to use the bus and how to order at restaurants and other little know-hows.
KieranHanlonThe online PDF is good accessible version that will cut down on the waste of over production. All proposed information to be in the guide will be helpful to incoming students.Who is going to update the guide? What is the incentive to update the guide? Is there a possibility of expansion? Add some classic spots of Barca--Arc de Triomf, Tibidabo, etc.
lexicoopersteinThese are all good ideas to help new study abroad students to adjust and assimilate to Barcelona. It would also be nice to include customs and social norms so students can adjust to the "Barcelona lifestyle". This could include the fact that most people do not eat on the go, how restaurants don't usually give you containers to take your food home, the correct phrases for ordering food (bc many people say, "puedo tender" when ordering at a restaurant or cafe). It also would be helpful to include the cheapest way to withdraw money from banks. Maybe include the banks in barcelona that are associated with the big banks in the U.S.
Nicholas HahmSeems like a really cool idea which could be extremely helpful to anyone that first came here.May be to broad of things to implement. Maybe think of cutting down some of the places you want to include. Also may want to think about when you leave how you will sustain this map.
Robert.BotwinickI like the idea to only print out a couple of the programs and post them around IES as well as an online pdf version.Maybe send out an email blast to all IES students at the end of the semester asking them for any tips they would have to provide to next semester's incoming students. You could also make this sustainable if you created maybe an open-sourced blog/website for future students to keep posting their tips.
sblatchfordI like the over all concept of this project. I think that a lot of people come into Spain and don't realize how different the culture is. A quick guide with a lot of useful information would be a really good resource for IES students. You learn a lot about the Spanish culture just by living here but it takes awhile. This guide would help speed this process up and help students settle in to the culture a little more easily. The over all concept is really good. I think the section on restaurant etiquette is very useful because that was something that was very different for me!I think this project is really good in theory but I am slightly confused about how this information will be handed out to students. There is A LOT of information in this project, which is really good and useful but I'm not sure how easy this will be to distribute to all IES students simply by having a few handouts people can take or a pdf. I think the next thing to work on would be figuring out how to consolidate the information more or some other way to distribute the information. If there are a few handouts that people can take, I think most people will even if they aren't sure if they will use them so I'm not sure if the idea behind your distribution is as sustainable as it seems.
SimosThis plan seems very good and offers a lot at one time.It's not really comprehensibly put together in the format of the class. Also, everything is pretty widespread and there is a lot going on. Overall, I like the idea but I think it needs a little more planning and obviously in the correct format
tcremin617I think this is a great idea. There is a huge difference in cultures that a lot of study abroad students don't know about. I like incorporating cheap areas of the city and also good and cheap places to eat. I think the areas is good because our school and a lot of things take place in Placa Catalunya which is pretty expensive. This also gives students a good way to explore different parts of the city.I don't really understand how this acton is sustainable. I do see a big importance in this but the sustainable aspect is a little weak. Maybe incorporate sustainable things like local grown food areas or places to recycle.

Page last modified on Wednesday 15 of April, 2015 07:08:42