Speechless. That’s how I felt over the last couple days, during our group trip to San Sebastián and Bilbao, in el País Vasco in the north of Spain. I had heard how the north was supposed to be so green and rainy and more like Scotland than the mesa where Madrid is located, but I guess I wasn’t really prepared for the beauty I would behold. Now, I’m a sucker for green, trees and mountains (LOVE it! I needed a breather from the city!), then add the ocean, a beautiful beach, with Carlsbad-like weather and I was as good as gone (that would refer to San Sebastián, but I’ll get to that later). The group in Burgos, outside the [...]
Today was the first day of classes! I have now experienced 3 out of 4 of my classes here in España. I enjoyed all my professors and believe I will learn a lot (OK, so really no doubt about that!). It was interesting having my whole day in Spanish, in the classroom, outside, todo — all of it. I know it will advance my Spanish rather rapidly, and, for that, estoy emocionada (I am excited). After my classes I got to help Sofía with her English (and she with my Spanish). She picked a couple of songs in English that we would listen to and then go over the lyrics. It is hard to explain lyrics to someone who speaks [...]
Once again the twelve amigos embarked on a new adventure! An early morning bus ride found us in the beautiful town of Segovia (about an hour and a half outside Madrid) with the full day ahead of us to discover its treasures. Our profesora, and guide for the day, took us to the Alcazar first. Made my day, since alcazar is the Arabic word for castle/fortress! It was beautiful. It has a torre, tower, and real turrets, too. We toured the inside of the palace, enjoying the extravagant ceilings and hearing the history of Isabel and Ferdinand of Castille y Aragon, and saw some gorgeous views before taking the experience to the next level. Adrenaline rushing, we took the challenge [...]
Today, we had a short tour of Madrid’s main attractions. We had the privilege of seeing el Palacio Real (Royal Palace), which we found out has 6,500 rooms! Yes, I said 6,500 rooms. Does the royal family live there, you ask? Nope. Not anymore. So the twelve of us are tempted to spend the night there … how can they refuse us? It isn’t like they have a lack of space :) Across from the palacio is the city’s main cathedral. Our guide was not impressed by it, saying el catedral in Toledo is más hermoso (basically, way prettier!). I have to agree. We then walked up to the Plaza del Sol. It was the main marketplace back in the day, and [...]
Mi Escuela La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset. It is a small and very beautiful campus in Madrid. About a 20-minute walk from my home, and a quick jaunt on el autobus. Escuela (L) Toledo (R) Toledo I was just blessed with the opportunity to spend the last two days in the city of Toledo. Toledo is about an hour outside Madrid and was the capital of Spain. It is a medieval city set atop a rock surrounded by a river; essentially, it is una fortaleza, or fortress. The streets are a labyrinth, modeled after many Muslim cities, narrow and cobblestone, and so very cool! Our group of twelve students stayed in la Fundación’s satellite campus. It is tucked [...]
My housemate, Margaret, and I at the airport. ¡Buen Viaje! After an uneventful flight we landed in Madrid, and the adventure began. I stepped into a world of Spanish, and quickly realized the pace at which I would be learning. It is exciting! I have learned mucho already. Sofía, the granddaughter of my host mom, or Abuela, taught my housemate, Margaret, and me a new phrase of “cool” or “that’s cool”: “que guay.” I can’t wait to use it! We had a quick view of the city while driving from the airport, but the exploring will begin tomorrow before we head to Toledo for our orientation. Abuela cooked some delicious spaghetti and offered Margaret and I some delicious [...]
Today I embark on my adventure! I am saying goodbye to Carlsbad until December and head off to Dallas before it’s buen viaje y !Hola Madrid! on Saturday. I am beside myself with excitement, anticipation … and, well, a little fear. Mi gran aventura lies ahead and I’m ready to tackle it with confidence: so many questions, so many opportunities and so many blessings. I plan on learning a lot, and hopefully y’all will see that when I return! I’m so excited to share this adventure with y’all. Goodbye for now!
Cassandra is a senior majoring in Spanish and psychology in Dedman College and the recipient of the Marion Tower and other scholarships. During fall 2011, she is studying with SMU-in-Spain. She is looking forward to submerging herself in Spanish culture and learning how Spain has become what it is today.
Saira, a junior President’s Scholar majoring in biology and anthropology in Dedman College, is studying abroad during spring 2011 with SMU-in-Madrid and in summer 2011 with SMU-in-Oxford.
Emily, a junior Hunt Leadership Scholar majoring in corporate communications and public affairs, is studying Spanish language and culture in Madrid in Spring 2011 as part of SMU-in-Spain.