Aventuras en España
Happy February everyone! I hope the groundhog told you there would be an early spring, even though I know you guys haven’t been having the greatest of weather lately. However the weather has been fantastic here lately, sunny and in the 50s everyday. No worries though, spring is just around the corner for Wisconsin. I have a couple of events and highlights from my last couple weeks I wanted to share with you so I better get started.
To begin, this last Saturday our class went on another excursion. We visited the towns of Ávila and Tordesillas. Both cities are filled with a rich history, especially history in regards to the Catholic rule in Spain. Running around Ávila is there a large wall that was used to protect the city. We were able to walk on it and get a great view of the city. We took a tour of the city and then had some free time to shop and eat lunch. On all the excursions we’ve gone on I’ve bought a pin from the city for my backpack, so I like to shop around for those when we have free time. Then in the afternoon we got back on the bus and headed to Tordesillas. We saw two main monuments while there; the one was the museum of the Treaty of Tordesillas, and the other was the monument of Juana La Loca. The Treaty of Tordesillas is the document that was signed between Castilla and Portugal after Columbus discovered the new world. This document specified what new territory would belong to Castilla and what would belong to Portugal. We were able to see the document and I love to see historical artifacts like that so that was exciting for me. Then we saw the monument of Juana La Loca who was one of the daughters of Isabel and Fernando, she eventually became the heir to their empire and her son went on to be future king of a great part of Europe and the new world. I always have a great time on excursions and I’m glad I have the opportunity to explore different parts of Spain and they add to what I am learning in class. I think the reason I am learning so much here is because everything we learn is immediately applicable to daily life. The grammar and oral expression I learn in class I use right when I get home from school when talking with my host mom. The history and geography applies when we go on excursion and see different parts of the country. The culture applies when I met new spaniards and go out with friends. If anyone wants to learn a language and new way of life/culture, I would hands-down recommend a semester abroad.
Another great thing about going to school here is all the different cultural events that are offered. For my culture class we are required to go to three outside-of-class events and they offer a large list and variety of events though out the semester. Even though we are only required to go to three, I plan on going to as many as I am able to. A couple weeks ago I went to the Museum of Valladolid with a group of students from my school. One of our professors led us around and showed us various artifacts and events that had occurred in Valladolid. It was interesting to learn about the city that I live in and walk through everyday. Tonight I am going to the Museum and House of Christopher Columbus. I’m very excited to see where such an important man in history lived and it will be interesting to learn about him from a Spanish perspective. One of my favorite events to attend is called ‘intercambios.’ Twice a month they open the campus to people of all ages learning Spanish or English. You then get paired up with someone and talk in Spanish for five minutes then English for five minutes and then switch partners and restart the process. It’s fun to talk to people who are learning English and help them improve their speaking skills, and of course to improve your own Spanish speaking skills. I have met some really interesting people and it’s a great way to make connections with others. I love all of the out-of-class events that we do and I think it really helps my education process here in Spain.
On the first of this mouth I went to my first ever European fútbol (soccer) game. I went to see Valladolid versus Bilbao and I had a great time. They are both pro teams and it was fun to cheer for the team of the city that I live in. There are obviously bigger and better teams in Europe but I liked going to a game with teams at this level because it’s cheaper, close to my house, and we got great seats. It was a night game so the stadium was all lit up and it was filled with people. Each team has various cheers and songs and the fans go crazy during the game. I’ve never been a big fan of soccer in the United States but I knew I had to go to a game while I was in Europe and I’m so glad I did, in fact I want to go to another game.
I obviously love the Spanish events but I think one of my favorite things I did in these last couple of weeks was watch the American football Super Bowl. On Sunday night a bunch of people from my school met and went to a sports bar that broad cast the game through out the bar. The game didn’t start until 12:30 a.m. Monday but luckily I didn’t have class until 4 p.m. on Monday so I didn’t mind. It was fun to have an American experience in a Spanish bar. The bar was filled with people of a variety of backgrounds but we were all there for the same reason and it was comforting. Watching the game made me think about what I miss about the United States. Obviously I miss my family and friends above anything else, but I have a great support system coming from the United States and I have made friends here and I love my host mom in Spain so it makes that easier. Besides that I think the top things I miss are peanut butter, pizza, and my cats. Luckily I can get over all of that and I think being in Spain makes up for nothing getting peanut butter for a couple months. Haha.
With all of that being said, I think it’s clear that I’m enjoying Spain. Don’t worry though, I still think about the United States and miss it very much. I am already a month into this semester and before I know it I will be back home in Wisconsin. I hope everyone has a good start to your February. I’ll post again in a couple weeks about the holiday of Carnival and the social life in Spain.
Alexia Szabo, a junior majoring in accounting, Spanish and international studies at UW-Stevens Point, is blogging about her study abroad experience in Spain.