Tag Archives: college

The King abdicates on the first day of class? (June 2, 2014)

It was finally here. The first day of classes had arrived and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was in Spain and even though all I wanted to do was explore the entire country, I was excited to experience school abroad. Naturally, I got lost and eventually found the classroom. Everything seems so silly now that I think about it, because the buildings are actually pretty small. But because everything was new, it seemed like a huge labyrinth at the time.

I woke up earlier than I should’ve, because that first day of classes you’re excited and your body suddenly becomes an alarm clock, after not being able to even hear an alarm for the first five months of the year. I arrived early to find my class and walked around the buildings taking it all in. I was studying in Spain. It was a big deal.

defiende la educacion

My first class of the day was called, “Obras Maestras de la Literatura Espanola a Traves del Cine” which roughly translates to “Masterworks of Spanish Literature through Film”. It was from 9:00am to 11:30am and we were to discuss the syllabus and medieval literature on the first week.

As the classroom, full of mostly girls, was enchanted by the captivating accent and attractiveness of the Spanish professor, we all received breaking news early that morning. Our professor pulled up the Spanish newspaper and the headlines were the same in the English and French papers as well. Everyone was taken by surprise and we were there experiencing a historical event:

The King of Spain had abdicated!

History:

In 1969 Franco chooses Prince Juan Carlos to be the next head of state expecting him to continue the authoritarian regime. Juan Carlos becomes King two days after Franco’s death on November 22 of 1975 and his father abdicates in favor of his son in 1977. Soon after enthronement, Juan Carlos introduced reforms to dismantle the Francoist regime and begin the Spanish transition to democracy.

During the break between classes I could hear faculty members and students discussing the topic. People were reading the newspapers or switching between channels to encounter the same news in every one of them.

My second class was called “Spain and the European Union” and naturally we discussed the breaking news of the day. I learned a lot that day about the monarchy. The King doesn’t really have any political power anymore, however he does have complete immunity, which I found was insane.

I went home after class to eat lunch with my host family and discussed what everyone else was discussing as well. We watched the news on T.V. while eating paella and I learned about the different views that Spaniards have about the monarchy. While the older generations that have been through the Franco regime in one way or the other, believe in the importance of the monarchy and see it as a fundamental part of Spanish culture, the younger generation believes in change and mostly do not believe in the purpose of having a monarchy anymore. The younger generation want to have a say in the future of their country.

paella

The next week or so would be full of conversations about the King and the future of Spain…

Source: wikipedia

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A Sunday to remember (June 1, 2014)

Today was pretty eventful!

Besides uploading pictures on Facebook and writing in my old blog, a few students from UCF and other schools decided to go on an adventure to Madrid. We were going to El Rastro.

train to madrid

On our way to the train station we found an event at the Plaza de Cervantes and stayed for a little bit to enjoy it. There seems to be something every day in this town. I love it!

About El Rastro:

el-rastro-madrid
Source: http://www.disfrutadmadrid.com

El Rastro might be the biggest open aired flee market in all Europe. It seems like it’s a Spanish tradition because it takes place every Sunday morning in Madrid. However, El Rastro is not just a market, it’s a journey of delicious tapas and beer through the neighborhood of La Latina. There is music in every bar, people performing on the streets, galleries and bookstores and people everywhere. It is incredibly crowded. You can barely walk but it’s an experience that you should not miss. Join the Spaniards for delicious food and feel like a local. This is the time to use those Spanish skills you have acquired throughout the years.

El Rastro is also an international spot especially during the summer days. You will see people from all over the world buying all sorts of things. You will see backpackers and hippies. You will see gypsies and men in suits. You will see girls in bathing suits and children running around. You will see a lot that might not make sense but just breath it all in. These are the Spanish ways.

I personally loved El Rastro. There were so many beautiful things and if I had the space in my suitcase or the money I would have bought a lot. There were so many books for 1-5 euros and I had to stop myself every time, because books are heavy and again, no space in my suitcase… Regardless, it was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to everyone visiting Madrid.

After we came back from Madrid, I went home and  watched T.V. with my host family and I still can’t handle the Spanish accent on the American shows. I laughed for hours watching law and order. Also, there is a really funny Spanish show called “La que se avecina” which is kind of like the Spanish show “Aida”. It was a great way to end the weekend before starting classes the next day.

Law and order:
-“Pero… ¿Qué ha pasado?”
-” El tio se ha tirado por la ventana”

Spring Break is over!

I believe my undergraduate years have been quite unique. Wonderful and frustrating and full of doubt and impulsive desicion-making. I’ve enjoyed them and  I’m still enjoying them but I’m glad they are soon coming to an end. I’m finally graduating in December and even though Florida has been a great home for the past five years, I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to go abroad.

This compulsive traveler is sad that she couldn’t go to an exciting place full of adventures on her last spring break before graduating, but she was at least able to travel through her books.

spring break is over

That’s what happens when I can’t physically travel, I have to travel through books where exciting new things happen as well. I am constantly traveling but soon I’ll be able to hop on a plane with my life in a suitcase or two and arrive at a new country that I will call home for the next year or so…

Rambles of a first day: Alcalá de Henares (May 29, 2014)

From Barajas Airport to the Alcalá de Henares
From Barajas Airport to the Alcalá de Henares

Upon arrival we got our luggage and bags, went to the plaza across the street and met and left with our host families.

plaza alcala

First thing I noticed when I got to Alcala is the greetings. Spaniards kiss twice, once in each cheek. That kind of took me by surprise, but it was easy to get used to. To the point that even back home, we (UCF students that went on the program) still greet ourselves with two kisses.

Warning: Another thing you are going to notice a lot in this city are cigüeñas or storks in historic buildings. These are protected and the city makes sure they are well taken care of, meaning that they provide “them with an easy-to-reach special supply of twigs and branches for their nests, as well as making sure they suffer as few disturbances as possible”(AlcalaNow).

al14

My host family is super nice and chilled. We live 15 minutes walking distance from the university in an apartment. The homes here are small but cozy. The elevator to go to our floor is extremely small, I know my roommate and my friend Barbara would definitely opt for the stairs.

I have no curfew, a set of keys, a room and bathroom to myself. The house rules are pretty standard and I have a pretty cute bunk bed and a nice view.

Bunk bed
Bunk bed
Working Space
Working Space

I got to meet my host sister when she came back from school and Luna, the beauty in the picture below.

luna
Luna

Laura is three years younger than me. She is super nice, funny and loves languages. She’s also been to Portugal and Italy and has been telling me all about it.

Alcalá is such a beautiful place.

uni

After I took the siesta (yes! I did take the siesta, that’s why I’m still awake right now), we took a walk around the city so I could learn the route to school and just for me to know where places are at.

There is a bus stop right in front of the apartments. One bus takes you around Alcalá and the sort and the other one takes you to Madrid, to the central station, where you can take buses that go to the rest of Spain.

Alcalá is small but it has a little bit of everything. There are a lot of restaurants, bars, tobacco stores or estancos, “chinos” (which are like convenience stores owned by Chinese people where you can buy pretty much anything), supermarkets, and bookstores. You can also find cathedrals, museums, plazas, and a lot of people.

calle alcala

So far, I really like everything and soon I will write more about it and post a lot of pictures. Tonight however, I’m about to go to sleep because tomorrow is going to be a really long day…

Tomorrow is orientation day, early in the morning, and then in the afternoon, we are going to take a trip to Madri”th”.

Extremely exhausted
Extremely exhausted

Good night!

Source: http://www.alcalanow.com/storks-alcala/