Monthly Archives: January 2010

First Pictures of Sevilla…

Hey all. After my last long rambling post, I figured you’d all probably be more interested in seeing some pictures of Sevilla. I’ve only just begun to explore the city so my pictures thus far are limited to only a few major landmarks. Below is a sampling of some of the photos I took, but if you’d like to see MANY MORE PICTURES OF SEVILLA PLEASE CLICK HERE. I changed the theme picture at the top of the page… I figured a snow scene didn’t accurately represent my experience in this warm climate. Until next time…

Inside Real Alcázar, a grand royal palace originally built in the mid 14th century:

View of The Catedral + La Giralda (the bell tower): the 3rd largest cathedral in the world:

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Hello from Spain!

Hey all. I’ve only been in Spain for about a week now, but there is already so much to share about the beginning of my semester abroad from Bates…

My journey began with a series of tiring flights and layovers. Door-to-door the trip took just under 19 hours, and, except for a few minor delays, went relatively smoothly. I missed no connecting flights and both my bags arrived intact so I can’t really complain.

There was a representative from the study abroad program waiting at the airport who helped me and other arriving participants get taxis to a local hotel where orientation was being held.

The orientation itself was a bit chaotic. Truly an overload of activities: meetings, a language test, meals, presentations, and even a scavenger hunt around the city to help us learn about some of Sevilla’s landmarks while also getting a lay of the land. There was an overwhelming amount of material covered in a small period of time (Tuesday night – Thursday afternoon), but it was certainly helpful and as the week goes on I’m finding myself more and more grateful for all the information learned those first few days. We received a program handbook and a map of the city, among other various documents, which are both proving to be extremely useful as I begin to adjust to life in this beautiful yet thus far foreign city.

On Wednesday I found out I would be living with a Señora (In terms of how the program classifies it: an older Spanish woman who has room to spare in her home because her children are older and have moved out). On Thursday afternoon, my Señora, Concha, picked me up at the hotel and gave me the classic Spanish greeting (two kisses on each cheek). She is extremely nice, an excellent cook, and has provided me with a good-sized room to live in. We get along quite well I think and my Spanish is improving everyday thanks to our mealtime conversations.

I get along well with many of the other students in the program and have already had a good time with these new friends going out for drinks and exploring the city. The people in the program are from all over the United States, but we seem to all share the same basic goal: Achieving Spanish language fluency and full cultural immersion while also having a fun time doing it.

I miss home and loved ones dearly and have been feeling a bit homesick at times. I still do not have access to internet in my homestay (a problem that will hopefully be remedied soon) which makes me feel more alone because the internet is one of the only ways that I can connect to my family, my girlfriend, and my home life. Still, I am trying my best to focus on the positives: the excitement of arriving in a new city, meeting new people, and embarking on an academic and cultural adventure.

I feel as though I could ramble on paragraph after paragraph about everything, but I will instead try to focus on individual aspects of my experience in upcoming blog posts.

Tomorrow marks the first day of my two-week intensive Spanish grammar course. The journey is only just beginning. Pictures of Sevilla to come soon! Until next time…

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Off to Spain…

Hey all. The waiting is over. Today I fly overseas to begin my semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain.

I don’t know exactly what to expect. After my long journey in the air, the adventure really beings. I will be inundated with a lot of information during a quick orientation period: finding out where I will be living, who my host family is, what classes I will be taking, etc.

I will blog again as soon as I can to let you know how things start off. Much more to come.

Adiós a los Estados Unidos, hola a España… until next time…

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M.L.K. Jr. Day at Bates College…

Hey all… 5 days until I leave NY for Sevilla, Spain (by way of London, and then Madrid) for my semester abroad. It occurred to me that I depart on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is a holiday that has particular importance at Bates.

On M.L.K. Jr. Day, or King Day as it is sometimes referred to at Bates, classes are cancelled and the college hosts a series of performances, workshops, seminars, speeches, concerts, and other events in the hopes of fostering appreciation, shared knowledge and community outreach in the spirit of Dr. King’s beliefs.

Each year has a thought-provoking theme that helps to guide all the day’s events. Last year’s theme was ‘Inaugurating Change:  Where Do We Go From Here’, which made sense given the recent election of President Obama and the upcoming inauguration. I blogged about last year’s festivities so if you are interested, check it out here.

This year’s theme is ‘Faith and Ethics in the Public Sphere‘ which sounds really interesting. Professor Barbara Savage of the University of Pennsylvania will be the keynote speaker. Click on the bold text to see a calendar of the day’s events and a list of the workshops. Click here if you are interested in the history of King Day at Bates.

I regret that I won’t be on campus for the holiday this year. The day is one of the best things about Bates. A coming together of students, faculty, staff, guest speakers and professors, and members of the community to discuss the past and present to learn and work towards a positive future.

Until next time…

(Photo courtesy of: http://www.madisonvoices.com/mlk/images/mlk_flag_opt.jpg)

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Getting Ready for Spain…

Hey all. Hope you’ve all had a great start to 2010. Now that it is the new year, the fact that I’m going abroad has truly started to sink in. And just in time: I leave in 10 days.

There is much to do in preparation for my departure and I am more than a little overwhelmed by it all. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I of course am very excited, but at this point in the process I can’t help but feel apprehensive as my semester in Spain rapidly approaches.

That’s why I’ve decided to start at square one. I’ve gathered a number of travel handbooks, maps, informational booklets, and miscellaneous guides to help me focus on the upcoming trip (SEE PICTURE BELOW). There’s no way to fully prepare for the journey ahead, but this certainly couldn’t hurt and it sure beats starting the dreaded packing process (5 months worth of personal items to be jammed into two suitcases).

Wish me luck. Until next time…

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