This is going to sound very cliche, but when I arrived in Spain I had no idea how deeply in love I would fall. I enjoyed visiting every city that we went to, but there was something special about Granada. Maybe it was the history, maybe the gelato, maybe it was that I felt more confident speaking Spanish.
We departed for Barcelona on Saturday morning, unaware that the Catalan language of Catalonia would surround us. The train ride from Madrid to Barcelona went faster than I had anticipated, but that’s what happens when one’s eyes are constantly stimulated by the beautiful countryside that’s just a glance out the window. After peering out the window and mentally preparing for our Catalan adventure, we arrived at the train station in Barcelona. Luckily, the weather was amazing in Barcelona; it was sunny and warm, just what we needed for a quick 20 minute walk to our hotel.
Our first day in Segovia was tumultuous. We landed early on Tuesday morning in Madrid excited to see Ryan and Mikaela. As most of us did not sleep on the red eye from Boston Logan, it was slightly difficult to be as enthusiastic as they were. To increase our fatigue we were thrown straight into a barrage of Spanish from our host families. Communicating in a mix of English and broken Spanish we tried to convey that we desperately needed a siesta (nap). After this, most of us only woke up for dinner and slept through the night to the following morning. Better rested, but still somewhat disoriented, we all converged at the aqueduct for our first full day in Segovia. Looking up at the ancient Roman water slide the group became excited for our time abroad.
The adventure began as the group embarked on the final excursion to Málaga. We all met up at Segovia’s bus station and from there we made our way to Madrid. When we arrived in Málaga we were greeted by the warm air and ocean breeze. The city was full of light as we were guided through the stone streets to our hotel. On one side there were hundreds of tall beige buildings filled with city life and on the other side was the crystal clear Mediterranean.
Every day, Proctor students are called to indulge in their curiosities, challenge themselves, and try something new. This same ‘trying something new’ mantra has guided the World Languages Department over the past few years as instructors have been experimenting with different pedagogical approaches to classroom structure. As Ross, Ale, Erik, Jon and Scott discover creative ways to teach timeless lessons, we are reminded that a culture of learning is hinged on educational exploration for all community members, where individuals evolve with each passing season.
After hours of traveling in trains and buses, we entered the city different from all others, Sevilla. I say that Sevilla is different from all other cities for quite a few reasons. First I will describe the people. In most cities we have traveled to, people are very rushed and will walk right through you if you let them; for example, in Madrid if you don't keep your head up on the sidewalk you will be tossed around the pavement as if you were in a football game. In Sevilla there is a much different feeling. Most of the people are more than willing to take a minute to help you if you are lost. The people shift along the sidewalk so that everyone is moving in a rhythm, flowing like a wave.
It can be hard to believe that living in France studying art can count as school, and after completing the program it is even harder to imagine. That is not to say that living over here is smooth sailing 24/7. I am living and breathing art, creating art and seeing art from both my peers and the Dutch Masters. I love developing skills, working to become better at something and in this case art. So if you are taking this program seriously it isn’t always easy, but it can be a lot of fun.
I think that I speak for all of us when I say I was a little hesitant to travel to Lisbon, Portugal. After studying the language for a handful of days, the only thing I could confidently say was "Uma mulheres esta nadando" (the women are swimming) and "ola!" (Hello!). Soon though, when our plane our plane flew over Lisbon and started to descend and touch down, all my worries about the language flew away and I was left with excitement and anticipation for the week ahead of me.