All posts by karahaar

Relax at Parc de la Ciutadella

Pass the Arc de Triomf and through Passeig de Lluís Companys, lays a spectacular park. Ciutadella Park is one of the main public parks in Barcelona, Spain. The park is filled with history. The abundant amounts of attractions make it appealing to locals, as well as tourists.

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Tourists sometimes overlook the park. Compared to the other sites in Barcelona, the park doesn’t always get enough credit. However, having fewer tourists is what makes the park peaceful. This way, it isn’t too crowded. Ciutadella Park is a calm park in a busy city.

barcelona97-620x413In 1888, Spain hosted its first International World’s Fair. The fair was to celebrate the removal of the despised, military citadel. The 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition took place at Ciutadella Park. Over two million people were present. Most of the park was designed specifically for the fair. All the buildings had specific purpose. Since the fair, the park’s layout has been modified.

At 70 acres, Ciutadella Park is bigger than ordinary parks. There is much more going on. Individuals spend their time wondering the trails or walking their dogs. It is a great place to get exercise. People will go jogging or ride their bikes through the park. There are plenty of things to do and see.

Parc Zoologic is known to be the main attraction in the park. Housing over 7,000 animals, the zoo attracts many tourists. In the past, many individuals would visit the zoo to see Snowflake, the famous, albino gorilla. Sadly, Snowflake passed away in 2004. Located at the end of the park, the zoo is still the most popular aspect.

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In the center of the park stands Parliament de Cataluña. This is the original building for the military of the citadel. Parliament de Cataluña is the oldest building in the park. Even though the public isn’t allowed inside, it is still admired. Occasionally, there are private tours provided.

The Cascada is a large fountain located in the corner of the park. Built by Josep Fontsère in 1888, the fountain was another addition for the Universal Exposition. Antoni Gaudí was said to have many contributions to the architecture. Two staircases on either side of the fountain are available to climb for a better view of the park. For drinks or a snack, a small café sits in front of the fountain. Many individuals relax on the benches and listen to the waterfall.

Fontsere
Fontsere
Gaudi
Gaudi

One of the most scenic sites of the park is the lake. The palm trees surround the lake makes the area more picturesque. The lake is known to be a romantic spot for the visitors. Boats are available to the public to ride. Many families and couples are seen rowing boats on the lake. Next to the lake is one of the thickest vegetation. There is a variety of vegetation that grows here that is picketed with signs.

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The park also offers a few museums. The Laboratory of Nature holds a museum of zoology and geology. There are exhibits for all ages. The museum of zoology holds exhibits for minerals, animals, and birds. The original building for the museum of zoology was used in the Universal Exposition. Francisco Martorell i Peña donated his collection of artifacts to the museum of geology. The building was constructed for the purpose of storing his artifacts. This was the first museum in Barcelona.

In between the building of the two museums, stands the Umbracle. This is another building built for the fair. The building is now used for a green house. Inside, palm trees and tropical plants cover the area. The roof is made of transparent to allow the light to shine through.

The park is a great place for families and kids. Parents take their children to play on the playgrounds at the park. There is an enormous statue of a mammoth that kids are free to climb on. Many schools lead their students on field trips to the park during the day.

This is a great recommendation for a place to visit in Barcelona, Spain. Parc de la Ciutadella has something for everyone. It has activities and history. The park is peaceful and active. For locals or tourists, the park is a great place to spend time. Whether someone wants visit the zoo or unwind, it is beautiful.

As for myself, I love to visit the park. It lived up to my expectations. Click below to hear and see my personal experiences at the park!

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Why Podcast?

IPOD + BROADCASTING = PODCAST

The name can be misleading. The term “podcast” is actually controversial. Needing an iPod is not crucial when listening to a podcast. Podcasts are simply media files. They can be audio or video. They can be music or speaking. Podcasts are very broad. You are able to access podcasts on many different forms. Podcasts are available on computers, laptops, iPads, or media players.

Merriam Webster defines “podcast” as: a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.

The most attractive part of a podcast is that it is portable. You are able to listen to the audio you want, whenever or wherever you want too. Whether you are on a run, driving in the car, or sitting at a café, you have access. This is with the help of portable devices. Another attractive element is that being a podcaster is open to the public. Anyone is able to create, upload, and share. There are certain websites that give you the opportunity to produce a podcast. Podcasts can be about anything. Similar to a radio show, there are unlimited topics. Podcasts can be about news, love, comedy, music, art, or just about anything. Famous Podcasts by Digital Trends Never heard a podcast? Wanting to listen a podcast worth your while? Well, www.digitaltrends.com rated the best 100 radio podcasts. Below you will find the winners:

News- Interested in hearing the global news? BBC World Service is known as one of the most popular podcasts to access news from around the world. BBC posts two podcasts a day about the most current news. The podcasts include interviews and updates that are happening. BBC can be subscribed and downloaded through iTunes. Comedy- One of most popular comedy podcasts is known to WTF with Marc Maron. Maron posts a new podcasts once a week. With special guests, interviews, and jokes, he is able to make a large audience laugh. Music- All Songs Considered plays the newest music. Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are able to play songs on their podcast. Many listeners listen to here the latest tunes. Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.08.32 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.09.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.14.14 PM Want to be a podcaster? Here are a few useful tips that will help you along the way. How to make a podcast:

  1. Create a file
    1. Pick a topic and record a media file. You can do this with your phone, computer, or any device that has a microphone recording application. Once that is done, you are able to edit the file the way you like.
  2. Upload the file
    1. There are many websites on the Internet that give you the chance to upload your file. The website will usually give you an URL. The URL lets you share the file on other websites. It will give other people the chance to listen to your podcast. I recommend uploading the file to Soundcloud. It is a very popular website that is easy to use.
  3. Share the file
    1. Other people are able to listen to your podcast once you share it. With the URL, you can post the podcast to any social media site or website.

Still not sure about Podcasting? This tutorial video will give you additional information.

Goodvibes from Ibiza

Ibiza Island, Spain

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April 10th– April 12th

Friday, April 10th

This was our last weekend traveling out of Barcelona. Everyone on the trip was starting to feel the same way about leaving for another weekend. It is tiring. Traveling is slowly becoming less and less exciting. It is our last weekend traveling out of Barcelona. The airplanes, the buses, checking into a hotel, it all wears you out after a while. This weekend was different. There were not a lot sightseeing or tours. It was all about relaxing by the water with your friends.

Ibiza is known to be crazy island. A few months ago my friends and I booked a trip through Goodvibes that included free access to new clubs, transportation, and hotel accommodations. It was all worth it. Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.34.39 PM

The flight was only 45 minutes long. Not only was it short, it was very calm. Once we landed, we took a short taxi to the hotel to find a massive line of study abroad students waiting to check in. The hotel staff was very inefficient. It took us two hours to check in.

Everyone on this trip was study abroad students from around Europe. I recognized a lot of kids from my classes. We traveled with a large group of friends. That made the trip even better.

The first day there was a party by the pool. Unfortunately, it was too cold for any to jump in the water. It was nice to socialize with other students and listen to the DJ that was provided.

When it came to go out, everyone was excited. It was one of my good friend’s 21st birthday. She had a blast. Goodvibes provided us with buses to the club. When I stepped inside, I was in awe. It was the coolest club I had ever been to. The club was only for student abroad students on the trip. This was nice to have everyone your age in one place.

In the center of the club was round dance floor caving into the ground. Everyone was in a huge circle dancing on the steps. The DJ was amazing. He played all American music that we recognized. There was even a live saxophone player. Above the dance floor was a round stage where people would dance. Everyone was having the best time. At 5am, the buses came around to pick everyone back up.

 

Saturday, April 11th

The boats that Goodvibes provided were leaving at 12:30pm. Today, a five hour long boat party was planned for the students. All of our friends got on the same huge boat. For the first 15 minutes, it was awful. The boat was rocking back and forth. The water was very rough. Nobody was feeling very well. People began getting sick over the side of the boat. It was not a pretty sight. 11117839_10205967918459898_1342731993_n

Once we were farther out in the ocean, the rocking stopped. Luckily, the DJ put everyone in a better mood.

The boat ride ended at 5pm.  That night, the package took us to another club called Pacha. Ibiza is known for this club. It was the opening night and anyone was welcome. It was the biggest club I have ever seen. There were so many different areas, we didn’t get to see them all. The club was filled with people.

 

Sunday, April 12th

Check out was at 11am. The line was long so we went for breakfast instead of eating. Ibiza didn’t have any restaurants that served American breakfast food so we settled for pizza.

There were only two flight going to Barcelona that day. One was at 8am and the other at 6pm. In other words, everyone on our 6pm flight were study abroad students. Nobody wanted to wake up that early.

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Ibiza was a crazy island. It was one of the best weekends I had. It was nice to have no worries for the weekend.

If you are going to Ibiza, I would recommended booking it through Goodvibes. For the price we paid, a lot was included. It was all worth it.

Obama: Social Media Strategy

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In the Presidential 2008 Elections, Obama used social media to help attract more voters. This strategy was a success. He wanted to reach out to individuals that were likely not to be interested in voting. Obama’s team aimed their advertisements mostly at young adults using social media. He was able to reach a large audience. By doing this, Obama won the election.

By November 2008, Obama had approximately 2.5 million (some sources say as many as 3.2 million) Facebook supporters, 115,000 Twitter followers, and 50 million viewers of his YouTube channel.

How Obama Won with Social Media

Twitter

Obama used Twitter to express his views about becoming president. People were able to be more informed on what he stood for. Obama would post his slogan, Hope, Change, Action to be known the public.

Obama was able to post about his campaign tour. He would be post about where and when he would be speaking. This would draw in a bigger crowd at his speeches. More people were able to listen to him speak.

Twitter was very useful for feedback. Obama was able to read his followers’ views about his message. Occasionally, he would hold public forums where followers were able to ask Obama questions via Twitter. Obama would then respond back to the questions publicly.

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Facebook

Obama’s Facebook was directed at an audience of all ages. Most people have a Facebook page. Obama used this to reach as many people as possible. He would post about upcoming news about the election and his campaign.

It cost a lot of money to advertise and keep a Facebook running. Obama was said to have spent around 600,000 dollars on to promote his Facebook.Other people have to manage the account and keep it updated during the campaign. This cost a lot of money but ended up being worth it for Obama in the campaign.

Obama was able to be very personable through Facebook. In his biography on this profile page, Obama would list his real favorite music, favorite movies, and other personal information. This made it easier for people to get to know Obama. Instead of aways campaigning, people were able to see a real side of him.

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Youtube

Obama had short clips on Youtube regarding his campaign. The short clips would play before videos that were clicked on. Almost anyone that wanted to watch a video had to watch the short clip of Obama. Youtube became a great strategy for Obama in his campaign.

Obama used many other social networking sites in his 2008 political campaign. It was expensive but worth it. Obama was able to connect with my individuals through the use of social media. He was able to build a relationship with his supporters by reading and responding to posts. Social media was crucial in Obama’s campaign. Without it, he may not have won the 2008 election.

A Week in Italia

Spending eleven days away from Barcelona was tough. Barcelona has become my home and being away for that long felt wrong. However, I knew spending a little over a week with my best friends touring Italy wouldn’t be so bad.

Our first stop was Cinque Terre, Italy. Stepping out of the train station, I knew this would be a great place to spend three days. My favorite place to be is laying on a beach. Cinque Terre was a perfect fit for me. It is simply a small beach town. IMG_4783

After dropping off our bags our cute hostel, we went to a restaurant overlooking the ocean. We ordered pasta and cocktails to get the trip started. The rest of the day was spent laying on the beach till the sun went down.

The next morning, we took an ambitious hike to the next town. Cinque Terre is comprised of five small villages. We only made traveled to one. It wasn’t easy. Along the way, we met two friends who were struggling just as hard. An hour and half later, we all made to Vernazza. The town was crowded with tourists and gelato. We ate more pasta and shopped at the souvenir stores. As the sun went down, my friends and I watched the waves hit the rocks.

Sunday morning and it was time to leave Cinque Terre. Honestly, I was sad to leave this beautiful beach town. The warm weather and sandy streets made it difficult to leave.

The train to Florence was long. Once arriving, I would be crashing with my friend’s cousin’s hardwood floor for the next three nights. IMG_4885

On Tuesday morning, this made the day trip to Venice difficult. I was exhausted. We took an early morning, fast train to Venice and caught a ferry to Burano. Unfortunately, we got on the wrong ferry. It took us 2 hours to arrive in Burano. It was worth it. The blue skies and colorful houses made for incredible pictures. After, we took another ferry and wondered the streets of Venice. We made great use of the short time we had. Later that day, we took a train back to Florence.11150443_10205935637452893_7661687077666655396_n

Another early morning train ride and off to Rome! We checked into our hostel. The weather in Rome was very warm. I was not expecting this and packed jeans for the day. The first thing we did was meet our friend from school. She is studying abroad in Rome and was excited to show us the city. We visited the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately, we found out the Trevi Fountain would be under construction for the next two years. This was disappointing.

Thursday, we only had time to see the Vatican before leaving once again. The line to enter the church took us over an hour. That night, we met at the train station for the Bus2Alps Tour. This was a weekend long tour that we had signed up for a few weeks earlier. The bus picked up all the kids at the train station and took us to Sorrento, Italy. 

In the morning, the tour had us wake up early. Everyone hopped on a ferry that took us to smaller boat. The boat took us around the entire island of Capri. It was a beautiful day. First, we took even smaller boats inside the Blue Grotto. At the end, the boat dropped us off on Capri Island. Here, we traveled to the top to eat lunch and try Limoncello. Capri is known to grow the best, fresh lemons. It was delicious.

My favorite part of the island was the chairlift. It was a single chair for one person that took you to the tallest part of capri. It was very relaxing to be by yourself. The views of the ocean were incredible.

The next two days were not as exciting. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible. It thunder-stormed the entire time. We spent the next two days huddled in pizza shops and trying to stay dry.

When Monday came around, we were ready to get back to the nice weather in Barcelona. The trip was long but beautiful.

If you only have a short time in Italy, here are a few recommendations

My favorite places:

  • Cinque Terre
  • Burano
  • Capri

My favorite things:

  • Hiking
  • Blue Grotto
  • Chairlift

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Success Is Doing What You Love

Don’t give up, do what you love, be inspired, and tell a story along the way. That is what I learned from Valentí Sanjuan. Describing him is difficult. He is a journalist, traveler, influencer, YouTuber, and much more. Simply put, he does what he wants and films it. There are no limits when it comes to Valentí. His success story is rare and inspiring.78908526--575x404

When Valentí started, he was working at a radio show in Spain as a journalist. He was comfortable. Eight years at the company and one day they decided not to renew Valentí’s contract. The economic crisis taking place in Spain at the time caused many people to lose their jobs. The unemployment rate increased rapidly. Valentí was left with no job and no expectations of finding one. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do next.

Valentí decided to make his own show. With the help of a few friends, he got started. Valentí began networking to invite well-known guests on his show. He reached out to those who he worked with at the radio show. Many important people in Spain agreed to be guests. This was useful for the show. The popular guests brought more people to watch Valentí’s show.

Unfortunately, only 100 people tuned in to watch his first show. This was disappointing for Valentí and those who worked on it. The next show, only ten people came to the show to watch it live. Fifty people streamed from the Internet to watch. Valentí noticed something. More people were watching from the outside on the Internet than from the live audience. This gave him an idea.

Don’t Give Up

Valentí decided to create a show on the Internet. In the first three months, he started with nothing. He didn’t have any sponsors or any money to help him. It was very hard in the beginning. He needed more viewers to keep the show running. Valentí noticed the problem. He was doing the same thing as he was before. His shows were very similar. He needed to do something different.

Visto lo Visto was then created. This show began by shooting behind a market in Spain. It was very simple concept. Valentí gathered a few of his contacts to be guests on the show. People sat and talked in front of the camera. He streamed the show through the Internet.

Visto lo Visto continued to grow in size. Now, it is being filmed in a theatre in Spain. Still, it is being streamed through the Internet by Valentí. He records one show per month. Usually, there are 700 people in the audience and 2 million viewers online.

Do What You Love

Soon, Valentí realized all of that isn’t necessary. All one really needs is a camera and oneself to make a show. He began filming himself doing different activities. Then, he would post it on the Internet. He now has around 12 million viewers on his personal YouTube channel.

Valentí noticed something important. It doesn’t matter if you are on television. It matters how good the content is. If you have good content, it will sell itself.

Valentí started hiring YouTubers to contribute to his show. This brought in a younger audience. Those watching the show were around 13 and 14 years old.

At one point, he wanted to change his demographic. Since he was popular enough, he was able to do this by changing his content. It was difficult. He wanted to change his audience without upsetting his old audience members. By doing this, Valentí went from 2 million viewers a month to only 200. This was another disappointment.

Valentí started to make content he enjoyed. Videos of himself doing adventurous activities and exploring a new city. Turns out, people liked watching it. He made the videos for himself and would continue to post the content online.

Be Inspired

A few years ago, Valentí’s mother passed away. On the anniversary of her death, he was inspired to make a video. He ran 1.500 km from Barcelona to northern Spain.

Taking a hardship in life and turning it into a celebration, is inspiring. The video is sentimental and caught the attention of many viewers on the Internet.

Valentí is inspirational for others. Those that follow his Instagram will see inspiring captions to his photographs. He influences people to do what they love.

Tell a Story

Brands from all over the world get in touch with Valentí to make a video for them. They pay him to share his content with his viewers. Sponsors pay him to use and advertise their products in this videos.

Valentí is still a journalist. He is telling a story through his videos and selling a product. The difference is, he is much happier now. If the radio show would have never let him go, he would have never found his passion. Everything happens for a reason. Valentí is doing what he loves and found success from that. In the end, he became not only a journalist, but an influencer.

Success: From the Streets to the Grammy’s

The four things I learned from Valentí reminded me of another rare success story. Ed Sheeran‘s story is a bit more known by the mainstream. Ed Sheeran has also showed those four things.ed_sheeran_pub1_credit_ben_watts

From Haliflax, England, Ed Sheeran began playing the guitar at a young age. Ed was kicked out of his home at the age of 16. He told his parents he would rather play music than go to a university. He had no other option but to sleep on the street or random couches for the next few years. He didn’t give up.

Ed continued playing his music on the streets. He played in local pubs and built a fan base. Ed began uploading his performances to the Internet. This is where he gained most of his fans. Once he gained a big enough following in Europe, Ed moved to the United States with the money he earned from gigs. He practiced whenever he had the chance and played everywhere he could. He did what he loved.

Above is one of Ed Sheeran’s first videos he uploaded to YouTube.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” – Ed Sheeran

Ed performing at the 2015 Grammy's with John Mayer
Ed performing at the 2015 Grammy’s with John Mayer

Ed was a rare success story. With the help of Internet, his songs reached number one on iTunes before he even had a record deal. Four years after moving out of his home, he won two Brit awards. He went street performing to playing at the Grammy’s in just a few years. He was an inspiration.

He is known to be one of the best singer/song writers of our time. His lyrics are profound. Ed songs are real occurrences about his life. He tells a story.

If Ed Sheeran would have never followed his dreams, he probably would have ended up at a university. Once again, everything happens for a reason. Both Ed and Valentī used the Internet to build a fan base and market themselves. Similar to Valentí, Ed is an influencer. Not giving up, doing what you love, finding inspiration, and telling a story are all key elements to be successful in life. That is what I learned from Valentií and Ed.

Volunteering Abroad

Trying to decide whether to volunteer or not? My answer is absolutely. This has been one of the best decisions I have made since I have been abroad. In the beginning, my program had meetings to plan for volunteering early in the morning. This discouraged me. When first arriving in Spain, all that matter to me was sleep. I thought to myself, I don’t want to do this anymore. After my first day at the school, those thoughts changed.

Every Tuesday, and occasional Thursday, from 3-5, I take the metro across town to a primary school. The kids I teach English to are only three years old. There are two classrooms that I teach. Each classroom has fifteen students. In the first hour, I teach all thirty at once. The last hour, we split the classes and I teach fifteen of them. Considering I love kids, this was a perfect fit.DSCN0678DSCN0677

Not only were the kids adorable, the counselor and both teachers were so nice. One teacher didn’t speak any English but the other was able to communicate with me. The teachers and I are now great friends.

The first few weeks, the teachers and I would come up with ways for me to teach. Here are a few ways I would teach the kids English:

PowerPoints

When I first arrive, I stand in front of the whole class and show the kids pictures of a certain topic. For example, there would be pictures of fruits and vegetables. I would say the name of the picture and the kids would repeat after me.

Toys

The teacher would disperse a bucket of toys on the floor. I would play with the kids while telling them what the toy was. For example, she would lay out different types of animals. The kids would pick one up and I would tell them what the name of the animal was in English. DSCN0673

Reading

Occasionally, I will have the students sit in a circle on the floor and read them a book in English. The book is usually full of simple words and pictures. This way they can figure out what I am saying more easily. The story is always a common childhood one. For example, the students love Little Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Singing

The kids are constantly asking me to sing. Every day I sing songs from my childhood. They are now able to sing a long in English. Their favorites are the Itsy-Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Every once in a while, I hear a kid singing it to him or herself.

Talking

After a while, I felt like I wasn’t doing much to help them learn English. The teacher informed me that just hearing English, they will catch on. I tell the kids to do the same tasks every day, very slowly. They have now been starting to recognize the phrases.

Volunteering is a wonderful experience. It is a great way to meet new people. If you find yourself deciding whether to volunteer abroad or not, I would say it is a must. Use the tips above to teach your students English in different ways. Be patient because in the end, it all pays off.

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