“Victory on the grass means more than just a win,” said Marcos Garcia, Spain Professor about the bonding effect of futbol in Catalonia culture.
The FC Barcelona futbol team has adopted “Mes Que Un Club” or “More Than a Club” as their team motto. This saying represents the ongoing struggle for Catalonian culture to connect to the greater Spanish region. The region’s government instability has spilled over to complicate the personal interactions of its people, ostracizing them from one another and threatening their national identity. Futbol has become a method of integration and acceptance in the Barcelona community, where FC Barcelona itself symbolizes the ongoing fight for unity during a time of political controversy.
FC Barcelona’s efforts are bridging culture gaps, creating a similar effect on Spanish culture that American football has on American culture. This represents a slow separation of political issues and social interaction, to allow more of Barcelona to be community members.
“[It’s] the single opportunity for them to feel free, to feel like they were expressing themselves for a complete portion of time,” said Garcia about FC Barcelona’s dedication to inclusion.
Garcia is sharing Barcelona’s struggles with his Foreign Culture class, as part of Culture Experiences Abroad’s Spain program. Students enrolled in this program take classes in Barcelona, Spain learning Spanish language, literature, history, art and culture at either the intermediate or advanced levels of Spanish comprehension.
Though strong utility of the Spanish language and interest in Spanish culture is important to the program, there are classes offered in English as well. Students in Garcia’s class toured FC Barcelona’s futbol stadium, Camp Nou, to see the depth of “Mes Que Un Club” in Spanish culture.
“We realized at the end of the tour how big of a symbol it is for the Catalonian culture,” said junior study abroad student, Liza Branella.