This weekend our group took a trip to Granada, which is about 2.5 hours by bus from Seville. The Spanish countryside is absolutely gorgeous. We saw mountains, plains, and areas that were almost arid enough to be a dessert. Some of the greener land reminded me a lot of Iowa.
The city of Granada is at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains so it was a bit colder than Seville. The first afternoon in the city we took a hike up to an outlook site in the old town area where we had beautiful. views of the Alhambra castle. Back in high school my Spanish teacher had a picture of the Alhambra in her classroom. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I always liked thought it was a beautiful castle and would doodle pictures of it on the back of my quizzes when I finished early. It was so cool to actually see it for real and learn about all of the history of the castle.
The second day in the city we dedicated most of the morning and early afternoon to touring the Alhambra. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this. There are three different palaces in the Alhambra complex. It’s essentially its own city within the larger city of Granada. The castle served first as the palace for the Moorish royal families and later was concurred by the Christians during the Reconquest. The throne room is the location where the Moorish king signed the document officially surrendering that part of Spain to King Ferdinand III. It’s also where Queen Isabella met with Christopher Columbus for the last time before he journeyed to the New World. There was amazing tile-work and carved wall designs throughout the building. And of course the decorative arches unique to the Moorish architectural style could be seem throughout the complex. Most if not all all of the gardens had some sort of water feature… I think I’m ranting. Sorry 🙂 It was just so interesting to learn about everything there.
Anyway, the trip was amazing and I think everyone really enjoyed it, myself included.
Some pictures of the Granada trip:
Some photos of my new School 🙂
The first week of classes is just finishing up and so far so good. I think I’ll be switching around a couple of them but overall I’m really enjoying my classes. I find my Contemporary Spain class really interesting. It’s about well… contemporary Spain. Yesterday we learned about the Spanish civil war since so much of the current politics have roots in that conflict. It sounds like it had a really big impact on the country, as one would expect.
On Monday I spontaneously crashed a Flamenco dancing class. Don’t worry, we’re allowed to sit in on any class the first week in case we want to change them. In this case I think I will actually continue this one. It’s a four hour block class, which seems super long, but we learn so much fascinating stuff! In the first class alone I learned about the different regional styles of flamenco and the types of hand clapping and three different sets of dances. It’s so fun!
Looking forward to going to Granada this weekend. Waking up extra early tomorrow for registration then heading out on the bus at 11. I’m so excited to see the Spanish countryside. Maybe we’ll see some horses? Wish me luck!
Hello again everyone!
I arrived in Seville airport early on Wednesday morning after almost 24 hours of no sleep and lots of travel. The flights were long, like 6 hours for the overseas flight, and much shorter than the expected 9-10 hour over night flight. I initially met up with about five other students on the trip when I left Minneapolis International and we kept picking up more people along the way. By the time we reached Seville we had about ten people, some not even from our program, traveling as a group. It was nice to meet the others on the flight out here and also to make some friends from around the US also studying abroad here.
The first day was a little overwhelming and by the end of it I was so tired! Initially the language was really disorienting and difficult to pick up. I’m getting better though the longer I’m here. It’s only been like two days and I’m already able to converse a little better with my host family.
My host family all speak in Spanish around my roommate and I. I think they all speak english to varying degrees, but they want to help us practice our Spanish. To be honest, I can only really understand maybe 40% of all the words they say. That being said, I understand like 60-70% of what they’re trying to say. Like I don’t understand the whole sentence perfectly, but I get the topic and the importance of what they mean… At least I think 😅
So far we’ve traveled around a lot as a group with the other students who are on our trip. They say we should branch out and meet more locals or foreigners not from the US. It’s definitely a goal for me, but I think for the first couple weeks I really need to stay with the group to get acclimated to the culture and city. Once I’m more comfortable here I want to try and meet others.
Here are some pictures from my travels thus far:
Left: The Plaza de España.
Middle: Group photo with the girls at the Plaza de España.
Right: A pigeon decided to land on my head and stay there for like five minutes. We named him Stuart the Pigeon.
It’s now ten days out from my scheduled departure date. Things are getting packed and last minute shopping is happening. It’s been a lot of list making and reorganizing but everything is finally coming together for my trip to Seville!
For any readers planning to study abroad as well, here is a link to a helpful website for semester abroad packing tips:
While researching Seville I discovered The University of Seville is located next to both the Alcazar Palace and the Plaza de España. I’m thrilled to be taking classes so close to such amazing historical sites! I can’t wait to see the art and architecture of these places.
More updates to come as preparations continue for my semester abroad!