Overall my experience studying abroad was an amazing one with some many memories I’ll have for the rest of my life. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be able to go overseas to Madrid, Spain and study Spanish and explore their country with amazing new friends! This month in Spain helped me grow in many ways where it be traveling without my family, becoming pretty fluent in a second language, and just figuring out what it’s like to live in a different country! If the opportunity arose to study abroad again I would not turn it down! !En final, estoy agradecida! (Finally, I am grateful!)
¡La comida! (The food)
Here in Spain they are famous for a few specific foods! They specialize in a dish called paella and then they have different foods called tapas! Paella is usually rice cooked with different seafood: mussels, octopus, calamari, fish, and vegetables. There are paellas that are only vegetables or some with just meat, as well as some made with pasta and a tomato sauce. The tapas range from bread with slices of manchego cheese, ham, salami, or chorizo to croquetas which are little fried things that resemble a fried mozzarella stick. Inside them is a cheese béchamel sauce with ham, onion, and potato or we’ve tried one with spinach in it too! Another tapa is a Spanish tortilla which is like an egg omelette with potato! They also have little green peppers (they are not spicy) and little fried potatoes with sauce called patatas bravas. Here I have a few pictures that I took of my food here in Spain, Enjoy!
¡Un proyecto de la cultura! (A culture project)
Here at the University of Nebrija I am in a class centered around the culture of Spain! We have learned about the geography, the flag, national song, the 4 different languages spoken here, history, holidays, food, and events that take place. It has been so much fun learning about this country because their culture and customs are so different than my own. To explain more we have our final exams tomorrow as well as a group of students and I are going to present a presentation for a culture project we created! The basis of this project was to come up with 10 questions about the culture in Spain we had learned about in class and then with that we created a questionnaire. During one of our class periods we walked around the streets by the school and asked natural born citizens of Spain the questions to test their knowledge of the culture. I will include what the presentation looks like that we will be presenting tomorrow (Warning: it is in Spanish!)
¡Un viaje a Alicante! (A trip to Alicante)
This past weekend a group of students and I went to Alicante in the community in Valencia! This is a town right on the coast with a beach! The city itself was smaller but still very cute and of course who wouldn’t love being on the beach? There was also an awesome castle of the hill called, el Castillo de Santa Bárbara. It was very pretty and it was a little hike to get up on to see the beautiful view! Here are a few pictures from the weekend enjoying the beach, yummy food, supporting Spain by taking pictures with their flag, and the castle!
¡Midterm exámenes! (Midterm exams)
On Thursday June, 15th we had our midterm exams at the University Nebrija! My exam in my language class went well and was fairly easy (this is a bias opinion) but I can say it was easy because the classes are strictly centered around being proficient on the material we are learning! So taking an exam was very easy and there was no stress because feeling prepared to take a test is the top priority! In my culture class we didn’t have an exam because we are working on a school project where we get to create a questionnaire about the things we have learned in class. With that we go out into the street and ask native Spain citizens the questions and then we will create a presentation to present to the class next week before our final exams on Tuesday June, 27th! When we finish this project I will share more specific information about the questions and how the project went! Here is a picture of the patio area at school where we all get to hang out in between classes and a picture with our awesome profesor de la clase cultura (teacher of culture class) during our excursion last weekend in Salamanca!
Museo Nacional Centro de arte: Reina Sofía (The National Art Museum)
We visited another beautiful attraction here in Madrid; The Reina Sofía Museum! Inside this museum are many beautiful paintings from a large pool of artists. Also here there is one of Pablo Picasso’s (Spanish painter) famous pieces, Guernica. Today was personally an awesome day because I felt connected to art for the first time. It is fairly easy to look at a painting or a statue in admiration but when something speaks to you it is an awesome feeling! This can be because it is beautiful or because you understand and can connect to the deeper meaning. That was the reason for me because the painting was made to send a message about the Spanish Civil War and a bombing attack. Clearly it spoke to many on the basis of terror, war, pain, suffering, and the call for peace. (Or the other ways people see and interpret the painting) All in all visiting the museum was a wonderful experience!
¡El estadio del fútbol; REAL MADRID! (The soccer stadium)
Today a few classmates and I went to tour the Real Madrid soccer stadium, Santiago Bernabéu! It was a beautiful stadium and my first soccer stadium to ever visit! We got to walk around and see old memorabilia, world cups and trophies, all of the player stats, locker rooms, sit in their sideline seats, and stand on the field! This was one of my favorite tours for this trip because earlier two weekends ago we got to experience life in the city when a real game was being played! Real Madrid ended up winning a championship cup and the city celebrated all night and the next day with a parade around Madrid!
¡Una excursión a Salamanca! (An excursion to Salamanca)
This weekend my classmates and I went on an excursion to Salamanca, Spain. This day trip was included in the study abroad program and we went with the teachers from the school! This city was full of history with beautiful sites like an antique house built for royals, traveling art exhibits, the university of salamanca, and a beautiful cathedral. The weather here has been very hot so it was an eventful day trying to stay in the shade and drinking lots of agua! Other than the struggle with the heat this town was very quaint and cute. Following are pictures because they do more justice than me writing about them! A quick update on school here; I absolutely love my teachers and la universidad Nebrija. This Thursday we already have our midterm exams! There is no reason to worry or stress about a test here because the teachers truly strive on everyone in the class having equal opportunity to learn the information and will not move on until everyone is sufficient in the topic at hand. The teaching method here is amazing because we are in a different country and are fully immersed in their language and culture and there is a mutual love for Spain and all it entails between the students and the teachers. So the point is why wouldn’t you love to learn and go to school here? Please enjoy the pictures!
¡Escuela y tourismo! (School and tourism)
The University at Nebrija is incredible! The teacher’s are so kind and they love their jobs, which makes it very easy for us students to be attentive and interactive in their classes. Here in Madrid I am taking a Culture class centered around politics, culture, music, art, and food in Spain. As well as a class based on learning the language of course! In this class we spend a good portion reviewing advanced grammar and vocabulary and then using that in conversation in the class with games, videos, activities, etc. The school is very engaging and I look forward to going everyday! In this program we have excursions included throughout the week! This week we went to el Palacio Real and explored neat sights and points in the heart of Madrid! Here are some pictures at the Palace and around the city! Also included are some of the cool restaurants, markets, street performers, and cool spots we encounter here in Madrid! I hope you enjoy the pictures!
¡El primer fin de semana! (The first weekend)
To say the least living in the heart of Madrid, Spain is truly an adventure! There are so many beautiful buildings, restaurants, parks, museums, palaces, shops, flea markets, and more! The first weekend here was full of wondering and exploring the city. My roommate and I had some help from our wonderful host mom on how to get to these places because the city is very big! Some exciting events from this weekend were going to el parque retiro for a large book fair, walking through a large flea market, and watching the REAL MADRID fútbol game and participating in a large celebration in the center of Los Cibeles with all of Madrid’s finest fans! It was a wonderful weekend in Madrid and I’m very excited to get started with my schoolwork here while I will be attending la Universidad Nebrija.