Barcelona is a hub for startup innovators, freelance workers, master’s students and people who generally just don’t know what they are doing with their lives but want to travel. The idea of living in a city that offers so much is exciting and some people move here on a whim, kind of like I did.
However, what happens when you arrive and you realize you have no knowledge of the cuisine or nightlife, you don’t speak Spanish much less Catalan, and you have no game plan for making friends?
Fear not, and a round of applause for being so courageous and moving to a new city on your own! Here are three free apps very near and dear to my heart, that saved my very American rear-end in my first uncertain months in a brand new city.
Let’s get started with communication. Most Americans know the basics of Spanish such as: hola, donde esta el baño?
Although taking foreign language class is one of the best ways to not only learn the language but a surefire way to make at least one friend, this app teaches you the basics before entering a class. The app gives you daily reminders to practice your language and it helps with pronunciation as well to save you the shame of being a gringo (an ever-present English-speaking native’s reality). You can learn useful phrases, particular words, the basics of verb conjugation, at whatever pace you please. Apart from a universal Spanish, the app is currently “incubating” Catalan lessons.
Meetup actually helped me make my very first friends in this enormous city. This app lets you choose from various activities that interest you, such as dance, fitness, food, intercambios (exchange of languages), and from there you can find groups to join. You can find a group meetup at almost every hour of the day, every day. Most of the groups are free, and occasionally there will be workshops or classes that cost a price that is listed in the group or event posting. This app is not only helpful for people who join new groups but also beneficial for those who want to create a group and share passions amongst fellow aficionados!
Now that you have found some friends and are feeling a little bit more comfortable communicating with people, what’s a friendship without fun, especially in one the liveliest cities in the world? This app is free as well and gives you not only the inside scoop (or fork?) and reviews on restaurants in the city but also discounts and promotions, some up to even 50% off, at participating restaurants. You can also make reservations via El Tenedor and get 100 yums, and accumulate said “yums” every time you reserve at restaurants that participate in the program. 1000 yums equal 10€ off your next meal, so start reserving now my fellow famished foodies!