International flat in Barcelona – what? que? słucham?

About living in international apartment, its advantages and difficulties and eventually if it’s worth it
Sense categoria 16 noviembre, 2020 user6 0
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Imagine you are ten years old again. You live in your house or flat with your parents and, let’s say, three siblings. You want the best for each other, you spend time together and share your living space. A real family. However, sometimes you argue. There are moments that you can’t stand a second person. Hopefully, you speak the same language and you most of the time have a similar mindset, so you can try to find a compromise and live in peace again.

Now let me present to you a quite different scene. You come from Poland. You just came to Barcelona for your six-months-long Erasmus studies. After arrival you rented a low-budget room in some flat. Flat with fourteen (!) rooms. It turned out that your new flatmates are from around the world. Argentina, United States, France, Germany, even South Korea. Since then you share a bathroom (bathrooms), a kitchen and some part of every day in the flat.

What’s more, the pandemic is still not slowing down.

Venezuelan arepas with pork and colorful peppers

This is the reality of the life of Piotr. He started Erasmus in September. The adventure has begun. 

He says that he likes his flat. He enjoys being in this international team. “The biggest advantage of living here is that nobody speaks Polish. It’s only English or Spanish. So I have two options – master my English or try to learn anything in Iberian Peninsula language. So now, after two months, I see great progress in this area.” – he said. He often cooks with his international friends. The saying that the kitchen is the heart of the home is confirmed also this time. A big dining table is kind of King Arthur’s Round Table. They share recipes and try international food. Piotr learned how to make Venezuelan arepas and Argentinian tortilla de papas. He also shared some Polish meals, for example racuchy

The second merit of living in that kind of space is international diversity. In many aspects – faith, habits, music taste. Piotr said: “All I need is to be open to the unknown. God surprises me every single day”. Last Friday they was watching a movie, on Saturday they collected a team and played basketball in the park and Sunday was reserved to dance with South American rhythms on the kitchen floor.

The most important thing in fourteen people apartment

Long story short – if you don’t want to be bored, you won’t.

Unfortunately, there is the other side of this international coin. It’s not exactly connected with multiculturalism, but with living in that big apartment. Two weeks ago, Piotr and his friend tested themselves positive for Covid-19. That caused many quite prosaic problems like using the bathroom or cooking. They decided to use the kitchen according to schedule. It wasn’t easy because of the amount of people. They also used an exclusive bathroom for ten days of isolation. What’s more, people reacted differently, some were calm, others stressed. Whatsapp conversation was full of questions about the flat’s functioning. Hopefully, international friends showed that they care about each other. Boys were making shopping lists and the others were doing groceries for them. They proved that a small action of kindness is enough to change someone else’s daily life. 

Is it worth it?

“I think there is no one answer for this question. I can only say it’s fine for me. Maybe it fits my character and personality, but the second person wouldn’t stand it.” Piotr is saying obvious thing, but he is right. It always depends. Of course, compromise is necessary in this a bit crazy international environment. But where isn’t it? For Piotr, life in the international flat is an adventure. And every adventure requires effort.


Link to video presenting multicultural dialy life:

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