|A DAY IN THE LIFE...||STUDY ABROAD||EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING||HONORS FACULTY||NEWS||PHOTOS|
I will be studying in Segovia, Spain this semester. I chose to go here for a variety of reasons actually. First and foremost, I am a language studies minor, and I really wanted to get a good grasp on the language. I knew the best way to do so was to immerse myself in it with a semester abroad. I think it is nearly impossible to achieve fluency in a language through the classroom alone, and living in a foreign country is a sure way to kick your desired language skills up to the next level.
This semester abroad is very convenient for me because it nearly completes my language studies minor requirements, as well as my honors credit requirements at the same time, which saves me a lot of stress and time trying to figure out which of my already difficult science classes I can convert to honors. Finally, I feel like we as Americans are uniquely isolated from the rest of the world.
Aside from true disasters, we know almost nothing about the culture and goings-on of the rest of the world, nor do many people care. I feel that it is important to realize there is a world beyond our borders and studying abroad is a great way to get a taste of that. I also hope to grow as an individual while living in another culture and community, and it is an important step in learning to become independent. The beautiful country, astonish roman architecture, and rich culture are big reasons for choosing Spain for me, and between you and me, who wouldn't want to spend an entire semester in a beautiful country many people plan vacations to?
I have been here in Segovia for about a month now, yet there is always something new to see, do, and experience. Since coming here, I have already visited three different castles, been to a Spanish vineyard, seen the Segovian palace and garden, and visited Spain’s capital. I have also had the pleasure of experiencing the unique culture of Spain, including tapas, Spanish quisine, and siesta! I love the host family I am with, and I have a great view of the mountains surrounding Segovia right form my window! The language barrier is difficult to overcome, and I have found myself a little homesick at times, but never once have I regretted my choice to study here in Spain. It is a beautiful country, with so much to see and do. I think the pictures pretty much say it all.
Here we are at the Museo del Jamon in Madrid. Yes, all those red and green items hanging from the ceiling are pork legs. Spaniards are big on their pig products, and there was literally TONS of it here!
This is the AHA group and I in front of El Castillo de Coca. It was origionally built by Muslims, but due to Spain’s history, you can find Christian and Jewish influence as well within these castle walls.
Here is the goup again, but behind the Palace in Segovia. We are in La Granja, a beautiful garden with magnificent fountains, but unfortunately we are all blocking the view!
This was taken in Alcazar Castle, the castle of Segovia.
Here are a few of us in front of the Roman aqueduct in Segovia. It is the best preserved Roman aqueduct in the world, and today, it is truly a sight to marvel at.
This is part of Alcazar Castle, I thought it looked neat.
Here I just wanted to show some of the beautiful parks and scenery that can be found in Segovia. I have been running here a few times and I have found it to be very peaceful- a great way to just get away and have some time to myself.
Ah, here we have some traditional cider pouring at a Cidereria in Madrid. The object was to get the bottle and the cup as far away from each other as possible without spilling too much. We all had a lot of fun with that!
TAPAS! A Spanish signature! They are free at many places; unfortunately, you have to buy a drink to get them.
Here is the world’s first coin press, located in Alcazar Castle in the very town I am studying in!
The massive cathedral located in Segovia. I think this picture was actually taken from atop Alcazar Castle.
This last one is of me in front of Castillo de Coca. Right behind me is a huge drop into nothing but rock; this castle comes complete with a moat.
It is now November, and I have seen and done many new things since my last post. These pictures are just small snapshots of the adventures I have had.
I’m sorry to start off this section with such a depressing scene, but I thought it might be best to have them here rather than inserting them amongst the happier pictures. I had the opportunity to visit Germany during my stay here. I went to Munich, the capital of Bavaria, and really got a taste of the German culture. I took a tour of the city and of the Dachau concentration camp (entrance depicted below) and I really learned a lot about the history of Munich.
I have also been so lucky to have visited Far and Lisbon, Portugal, Cordoba, Granada, and La Granja since my last post.
This is the entrance to the Dachau concentration camp. It reads “Work will set you free.” This was a form of psycho-torture used by the Nazis, as often times it was work that killed the prisoners. I did not really want to take pictures during my visit, as it felt… I’m not sure how to describe it, shallow I suppose, but I felt I should do it anyway so that others could get a glimpse of my sobering experience.
These were the living quarters during the end of WWII. They were designed for maximum housing efficiency and minimal comfort. They would cram more than 400 people in this room alone.
All of the squares on this map were camps of their own, but they all reported to the main concentration camp in the area, Dachau. Dachau was the first camp opened, and was the template for all the others to come. It was the only one to stay open from the beginning to the end of the Third Reich.
On the lighter side of my travels, here I am depicted with some German signatures: Huge pretzels, sausage, sauerkraut, and locally brewed beer!
You think it is weird that people surf in southern Germany in the middle of November? These guys don’t.
This breakfast was amazing- white sausage with sweet mustard, potato pancakes, and coffee. I have been told that the classic Bavarian breakfast consists of two white sausages, a pretzel, and a mug (.5L) of beer. I never tried it, but it sounds delicious to me!
Nevermind the statue of the German artist, the people of Munich have built a shrine here dedicated to Michael Jackson. It was so bizarre I had to share it with you.
This is the Glockenspiel of Munich. Most people think it is a big deal until they see it in action. The figurines spin around to the a song played by out of tune bells and it lasts for about fifteen minutes.
This is the only picture I have of Lisbon, Portugal. It’s just a sunset view from the other side of the Atlantic.
This is the only picture I have of La Granja. It was a beautiful and immense garden/park with many fountains and even a labyrinth. This is the whole AHA group I am studying with, and behind us is the palace.
Just a better view of Alcazar here in Segovia, I thought you might like this one.
About every other week, we meet with Spanish students from another school who are studying English. We meet in Oso Blanco and exchange languages. Here at Oso, you can find the best tasting substance in the world- Sangria. This is Jesus. It takes him about fifteen minutes to prepare the beverages, but he lets you watch and ask questions while he does it. What makes this particular Sangria unique is the care that Jesus puts into it, as well as the plethora of fresh fruit that most places leave out.
We took a day trip up a mountain near Segovia. On the top were the remains of a bunker used during a Spanish civil war.
This statue is located in Cordoba. And it is my favorite philosopher, Seneca, so I felt the need to take the photo and post it. During the Muslim rule of Spain, there was a lot of philosophical rediscovery, and it was here that many Greek texts were translated from Greek to Arabic.
A neat reflection picture taken inside what was once a summer home for the Sultan.
This is located in Alhambra. I am standing in the very spot where Christopher Columbus pleaded for, and received, permission to find an alternate route to India by sailing west.
This is a scene (in a completely different location) depicting the aforementioned event.