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Sarah - Secondment in Barcelona

From the end of October 2019 until mid-December 2019, I spent six weeks in Barcelona at the University Pompeu Fabra for my second round of data collection for my project. This time, I was looking for native Italian speakers who just came to Spain and were still learning Spanish. Despite of Barcelona having a population of around 50000 Italian speakers, finding them in this city was more difficult than I thought, because a lot of people had been living here for years. I can definitely see why: Barcelona is right next to the sea with beautiful beaches, incredible architecture, interesting and kind people, a wealth of events, museums and history in every corner, but also amazing food. Here in Barcelona, you can practically find everything. While I dove into Spanish culture and absorbed as much as I could, I was conducting experiments in the Centre for Brain and Cognition laboratories at the university under the supervision of Prof. Nuria Sebastian-Galles. I was again looking at how Italian interferes with Spanish in the brain, and whether we can find any measurable effects on response times for this type of interference. My participants had highly different backgrounds, but they all took the time to come to the lab for me to measure their brain activity while there are processing short sentences and naming objects in Spanish, for which I am very grateful. I gained inside into the procedures of a different lab and learnt a lot about data collection abroad. All of this would have not been possible without the great people in the lab, who made me feel welcome from the first moment onwards.

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