By Joshua Goldman
By Alyse Walton
There are moments in life where we get to experience something life changing, moments when we are humbled into silence and reminded life is a gift.
“The Food of Spain”
By Amanda Molé, MSW
Food is an important part of every culture! Here are some of the delicious foods we experienced when we traveled to Spain.
By Britney Jenkins
Today started dark and early for the majority of us, especially those with flights before 10am. Before I dive into the events and emotions of today, I’d like to enlighten you on those from the night before. We were treated to a beautiful stroll through the Parca de Montijuic, which was beyond breathtaking. As we made our way through the park, the reality set in: in just twelve short hours, we would be on our way back to the States. As I was walking through the park, my mind began to drift back to the day I arrived in Spain and how exciting it felt to embark upon this cultural experience through the country. I have never been off the East Coast, much less out of the country, so this was something completely unknown to me. I reflected on the emotions of being in another country with people I had only just met, the differences between the States and Spain, meeting my host family for the first time, and all the memories made. I was pulled back to reality by the beautiful water show, where crowds of people filled the once almost empty park. To me, the water show reflected our emotions and experiences while in Spain and was a perfect way to end such an experience.
After the water show, we made our way back to the Residencia, but before we could get to the train we came across street performers! They were so much fun to watch, and talented, too. We arrived back at the Residencia where we all shared our goodbyes because we knew 4am would come all too soon. Those who were once strangers were now connected by our amazing journey through Spain. I almost didn’t want to sleep because I knew the morning would come and it would be time to leave, and sure enough, it did.
As I prepared to meet the cab downstairs, all I could hear in my head was the song “Leaving On a Jet Plane” — very fitting for the situation. I met Jade, Darlene, Nathan, and Spencer downstairs. As we waited for the cab, I felt a sense of sadness as we said goodbye to Spain. At the airport, we all parted ways and began our long journey home. Beginnings are always scary, endings are always sad, but what happens in between is what makes the lasting impact. I can’t fully reflect on my time in Spain because it all seems like a blur, but I do know I am leaving more than I was, more than I am, and with a greater understanding of who I want to be. Knowledge is power, and I know that is one of the greatest gifts Spain has given me. I have broken bread with complete strangers who welcomed me into their homes and lives as if I always belonged. I have witnessed the culture that is deeply rooted in Spain’s foundation. I have embraced the culture and tried many foods that were not in my comfort zone.
I have a new hunger for exploration, a greater understanding for people around me, and a desire to soak in as much as the universe is willing to share.
By Spencer Thorpe
Today was the last full day of the study abroad trip, and the morning consisted of a visit to the Sagrada Familia. Construction began in 1882, and it still has a very long way to go before it is complete, with an expected completion date almost 10 years away. The church is a result of, and heavily influenced by, the work of a man named Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi spent his life creating this masterpiece, regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world. During the audio guided tour of the cathedral, it was noted that the final and central pillar will be close to 560 feet tall. Gaudi did not want it to be any taller, as he was noted as stating that it should not be any taller than the mountain Montjuic, as nothing man made should be taller than something created by God.
The architecture was unbelievably amazing, with architectural detail at every corner of this Gothic style cathedral. A constant theme throughout this experience involves the use of nature for the benefit for those who need it. The Sagrada de Familia was not any different, and there was incorporation of sunlight into this masterpiece. This was done using stain glass windows meticulously laid out to create the projection of warm and cold colors on the pillars and walls inside. Furthermore, nature was incorporated when designing the support pillars, as the guided tour informed people that the pillars were designed with the thought of trees in a forest in mind.
By far, this cathedral is one of the most impressive things I have ever laid eyes upon. I think it is important historically, so one can connect with the past, and recognize the prevalence of religion throughout the history of Spain. Finally, it demonstrates the ability of spectacular creation on behalf of man, during times of great innovative advances.
By Jade Jessurun
Goodbyes are never easy, and though many people say they are bittersweet moments, often times they are more bitter than sweet. Growing a strong and solid relationship with your host family can certainly be a prime example of bitter being superior. Julia was my host mother for the past seven days in Alicante. To many, seven days seems quite brief, but it was just enough to develop an intimate relationship. Julia has welcomed me and my roommate, Darlene, with open arms into her home. Although that alone can speak volumes about one’s character, it was her generosity that defined my experience in Alicante.
From the moment Darlene and I stepped foot into her home, the term “study abroad students” stayed on her doorsteps. She treated us as if we were her own kids, which can easily explain the motherly love we have received from Julia. From fresh clean towels, to daily home cooked meals, three times a day, she wanted us to experience the raw culture of Spaniards. I am confident that no restaurant could have compared to her mastery of cooking. We have received authentic foods of Alicante, as well as Spain in general. Being the foodie that I personally am, the best way to get to MY heart is indeed through my stomach. This was easily achieved by the first meal, on the first day.
Language barriers were present between Julia and I, but luckily Darlene, who is a native Spanish speaker, was able to ease the flow of communication between me and Julia’s family. Reflecting on the communication process, as high as the barrier may have been between Julia and I, I have discerned that vocal expressions were not necessary. Our daily hugs and kisses on the cheeks spoke higher volumes of our relationship than words could ever express. Love can be felt and expressed in several different ways, but with Julia, I felt it and noticed it in many forms. For that, I will always be thankful.
Aside from the family cultural immersion, I want to spend time detailing about the scenery in Spain. To say it is beautiful would be selling it short. From the ocean on one side, the city on another, and mountains incorporated in the background, driving back from Alicante to Barcelona today, this is exactly what I observed. Scenery. It can clear your head, fulfill your heart, and make you appreciate the smallest things in life. The right scenery can make you realize how small your problems are and how to value bliss and tranquility. While many people sleep on the scenic and beautiful ride back, I try to do the same. But I can’t. I simply can’t because of the beauty that is present right outside my window. It is a perfect opportunity to forget about life stressors, and to simply reflect on recent experiences.
As our study abroad experience is slowly, but surely, coming to an end, we spent tonight in the beautiful downtown area of Las Ramblas. With the streets full of people, locals trying to sell the tourists items, and live musicians attempting to earn spare change with their talents, I remembered: this is where it all started. 11 days ago, we were all staring at the stores and buildings in awe. Today, we knew exactly where we were, how to navigate the streets as if we were locals, and fulfilling our nostalgic memories. Spain has offered so many cultural immersion opportunities, educational opportunities, and enjoyable experiences as well. Until the day that we can all come back to visit Spain again, especially Alicante, it is hasta luego for now.
By Nathan Eder
Our visit to the Parc de Montjuic was nothing short of amazing. It was an immense park, packed with people either looking to sit and enjoy the view, wanting to exercise, or to learn some history. The Parc had ample running room, and in its center it contained the Palau Nacional. The Nacional contains four different museums focusing on architecture and art in the Catalan region, each museum focusing on a different time period ranging from the Gothic era to the Modern movement. All of this is also across the street from the various sites where the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games were held (complete with tiles on the sidewalk with runners’ names). It was all a perfect example of Spain’s focus on art, history, and health, which are all so ingrained in the culture and great to finally get to appreciate in person.
With so many things to see and do, what could possibly cap this park and make it so well known in the Barcelona area? A magical water show. For an entire hour, the Parc’s central fountain area shoots off an artistic aray of jets, shooting off into the sky (and at us) to dazzle and amaze. These jets are synchronized with constantly changing lights, which depend on the music that’s playing. Did I mention that they had music synced to the show? Yep. The show started off with a symphonic cover of Queen (their vocals still), then a section of popular music, followed by cinematic soundtracks (think Hans Zimmer’s Inception soundtrack), and ending with classical music.
The whole visit, especially the water show, was a brilliant finale to our epic journey throughout Spain.