The Proctor en Segovia Spring 2023 group checks in with this update from the beginning of their nine-week term abroad in Spain. Proctor students live with Segovian host families while studying the Spanish language, history, and culture. In this blog post, Will L. '24 and Sydney '23 immerse us in the first several days of their experience in Spain, from arriving and meeting host families to establishing a new routine of commuting (on foot!), classes, meal times, and afternoon activities.
Our First Twenty-four Hours - Will L. '24
For most of us, our Spain trip starts at Boston Logan International Airport. The airport was surprisingly quiet, especially for a day were many international flights were departing. We group up with Ross, and he gives us a farewell speech. We not so tearfully depart from our parents and pass through security. We repack our bags and walk to the gate, getting settled in. We watch our inbound plane from Madrid land and taxi to our gate. As we had arrived so early to our flight, we had about an hour and a half till our flight boarded, so we settled in and chatted amongst each other.
Once we started boarding, the group split into two, one group boarding once they call our boarding group and the other waiting until the last minute to board. I settle into my seat, getting comfortable for the next seven hours. The flight went smoothly over the Atlantic Ocean, and almost as soon as we took off, we were descending into Madrid. We get off the plane and navigate the Madrid airport, asking for directions from a member Mariachi band who we thought worked for the airport. We eventually get through customs and get our bags. We find Luis and walk to the bus, where I pass out.
We arrive in Segovia and are greeted by our host families. José greets me with a firm handshake, I get my bags, and we get into the car. The group splits ways for the first time, and I am thrown into the deep end for the first time in almost a year needing to speak only Spanish. I arrive at my house, and Jose introduces me to Anna, the two cats, and a turtle. I go to my room to unpack and can barely get my suitcase unzipped before I fall asleep. Hours later it is time to go to orientation, Jose and I walk the mile and a half to the school, and I was trying to take all the directions in before I had to walk alone. The group meets up, and we start our orientation. Consisting of getting us oriented with the city, what to do and not do, and basic rules. Soon after we depart, and Jose gives me a ride on his motorcycle. I feel what it was like to be on the back of the tandem bike and have zero control.
Sydney '23 - Establishing our Rhythm
Saturday, was our first full day in Spain, and we had a fun-filled day ahead of us. We went up to the school, where Ellie and Luis gave us the full detailed orientation, and then we went home to eat lunch with our host families. Later in the afternoon, we met Jesús, the metal arts teacher, and walked around the cathedral. We went out to dinner at Da Mario, an Italian restaurant, and had a lovely group dinner, getting to know each other better. We went back to our host families after dinner, and then we started to get into our routine and understand how the term would be running.
Tradition dictates that one of the first excursions of the term is a day trip to the royal palace, gardens, and glass factory in the beautiful town of La Granja, 10 km from Segovia!
On our first day of classes, we had to be in our seats for the start of class at 9:25 am. Getting into a rhythm of making our way up to school, stopping to get a coffee and croissant, and in the center for the start of class at 9:25. We were out of the center by 2:00 pm, and we had to be home for lunch by 2:30 pm. From 2:30 - 4:30 pm is what we call la siesta, which is the Spanish version of a long nap (a long nap for the entire city).
After la siesta, we would either meet up as a group and spend time together, or we would go to our separate activities and then meet up afterward if there was time. We would all talk about our host families and our experiences with them thus far into the trip. Walking to and from school, there was a man who would stand still until someone put a euro in his hat, and then he would either change his stance, play his saxophone, or sometimes do a dance for all of the people around. It was fun to put a euro or two in his hat and watch his performance while we pass. The first week was filled with settling in, getting to know each other and our host families, and enjoying our time in Spain so far. There are many more adventures to come, excursions, and nights out, and by the end of the term we will go from starting out as a group of friends to becoming a family.
Stay tuned for blog post reflections about the first long excursion to Andalucía. Hasta pronto!