¡Hola de Segovia!
I absolutely love Segovia! Every day, as I walk to school, I pass the
aqueduct. This Roman structure built about 2000 years ago never ceases
to amaze me... and my house here is beneath it! Almost all the streets
are cobblestone and VERY narrow. There are some streets that are
so narrow and winding that I have no clue how cars can fit through--yet
they always seem to accomplish the feat. I feel like I have the best of
both worlds here: a small town atmosphere with the excitement of Madrid
nearby. I totally love it here and am quickly adapting to life in a new
A little about Spanish universities: you donít have the freedom to pick
your classes-- you pick your licenciatura and then about 90% of your classes
are determined for you. Studying Spanish and Biology (as I do at Muhlenberg)
is virtually impossible for Spanish students. Iím taking Contemporary Spanish
Literature, Ecology, animal physiology, and genetics. My favorite class
is animal physiology: itís awesome, although the professor likes to put
about 10 hours of information into an hour of class. I get a major writing
cramp every time I have physio.
In a traditional Spanish university, professors are viewed as gods and
students just take notes and absorb the wealth of information, but as a
new private university, the Universidad SEK is different. Here, students
do interact with the professors in and out of class. I am beginning to
make some good Spanish friends. They are invaluable when it comes to explaining
things to you. For example, there isnít really homework like we have. You
have an exam at the end of each semester and thatís it. Iíll be studying
for my exams in June --a lot! ¡Hasta luego!
Rebecca Schneider í01
I had always dreamed of living in a foreign city, spending my mornings
sipping coffee in a cafe and my afternoons in an art museum. This fall,
my dreams were realized when I spent the semester in Madrid, Spain. Life
was not as glamorous as I had imagined --I still had classes to attend
and papers to write-- but the atmosphere of Spain is something that does
not compare to anywhere else. I was surrounded by people who take time
out in the late afternoon to take a quick siesta before returning to work,
who seem to be more family- and friend-oriented than Americans, and who
basically know how to enjoy life.
I had the opportunity to see the aqueduct of Segovia, witness a wedding
in a cathedral in Barcelona, take an Art History class where we went to
the Prado Museum every week, and live with a host family who took me in
as one of their own children. I have returned to the US feeling enriched
by another culture and confident that this was the best experience of my
life. I have only one real concern about the whole experience: when can
I go back?
Katie McCleary, Ď01
The sweet woman who gave me her family recipe for tortilla española
was my neighbor. Rubén Darío was the name of my Metro stop.
Juan, Ana, Carlos, Raúl, and Laura were some of my friends, and
fútbol --soccer-- was life. During the autumn months that I spent
there, Madrid was my home. Study abroad in Madrid was the culmination of
years of study of Spanish language and culture. No classroom, however,
could have ever prepared me for the incredibleexperience. Educationally,
the most important thing that I gained from the semester was confidence
and competence in speaking Spanish. Personally, the memories of the people
and places of Madrid are what I value the most.
I really knew that I was not in the U.S. anymore on Thursday, November
25th. In my family Thanksgiving is a really big deal with lots of family,
food, and football. This year, though, turkey and stuffing did not cross
my mind: I was snacking on manchego cheese and red wine with my friends.
To most of my dinner company it was just another Thursday, and the only
big news was that Real Madrid had a big game against Fútbol Club
Barcelona coming up. Of course I did all of the big cultural stuff like
the Prado, a bullfight, the royal palace, and a flamenco show, but the
best cultural experience was participating in what I was surrounded by
daily. I miss the city more than I ever imagined possible, but am content
with the fact that while there I truly made Madrid my home.
Jo Buckley, í01