Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

« Barcelona feels like home | Main | Mi nueva casa: una instructora de yoga, un chico que se llama Axel y Luna, el perro »


Vegetarian in the land of ham

HannaName: Hanna
CIEE Barcelona Program:
Language & Culture
Spring 2012
Home School
: St. Catherine University

Two of my biggest fears prior to my study abroad experience had to do with (believe it or not) food. Since I have been a vegetarian for 9 years, I was worried that:

  1. I wouldn’t be able to eat anything in Barcelona because it is a city that is well known for meat products.
  2. My host family would be insulted if I didn’t eat meat if they prepared it for me.

Since my stay in Barcelona, I have found out that my initial fears regarding food were wrong. I live in Gràcia with my host father, Ramon, and my host sister, Roso. Ramon is an artist who in his 50’s and Roso is a senior in college and is 23. From day one, they have been incredibly hospitable and do everything they can to make me feel comfortable in their home -when I first arrived to my homestay, one of the very first things that they asked me was what I wanted for breakfast the next day!

Ramon and Roso are vegetarians (although they do occasionally eat some meats and fish), which was a relief for me. My host family is also very ecofriendly and prepares meals similar to what I would eat at home with a Catalan twist. I haven’t had a meal with them that I did not like! I have even been given the opportunity to help my family prepare traditional Catalan foods like “pan con tomate” (bread with tomatoes, olive oil, and salt) that I would never have tried if I hadn’t choosen to live with a host family.

Hanna1Today for lunch we had a mixture of cooked and spiced vegetables with “avena” (a type of oats, but they look and taste similar to brown rice) and lentils.

Hanna2 Hanna4
Although I eat the majority of meals with my host family, I have also had the chance to explore some of the many restaurants and markets in the city.  In addition to regular supermarkets, Gràcia is the home to many ecomarkets that sell organic, fair trade, and vegetarian/vegan foods (similar to Whole Foods in the states but much smaller and independent stores). I love shopping for groceries and snacks at these locations. My favorite ecomarket is called Boca Bio, which is located off of Carrer d'Astúries in Gràcia.

Through this experience I have learned not to set expectations for something without experiencing it first.  Initially, I had expected to have a difficult time finding foods to satisfy my vegetarian diet in Barcelona, however now that I am here that is not the case at all. I am excited to bring a little of Catalunya back home with me to the United States by preparing foods like pan con tomate for my family!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment