Showing all programs and posts with label:

Spain

Programs

Texas State Mass Comm Spain Program

Texas State University graduate and undergraduate students start their program off in Madrid, where they learn about the city through a literary lens and then head off on visits to the most important private and public communications firms in Madrid. After a week of firm and cultural visits broken up by delicious Spanish meals, the group travels to Barcelona, where they visit premier communications firms in Catalunya and its amazing historical and cultural sites. This program gives students a unique, insider perspective of the creative and cutting edge Communication field in Spain while also teaching students about the vibrant culture of these global cities.

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UT|GO Barcelona Program

The UT|GO Barcelona Program gives Liberal Arts students the opportunity to learn about business fundamentals through a customized course taught by local faculty at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and to take courses at the International Summer School at the UPF. Throughout the program, students improve their Spanish language skills and learn local customs by living with host families. They enjoy the Catalan cuisine and go out on weekly adventures guided by local students who are our ESA Mentors. This is a fantastic program that teaches students about Spanish and Catalan cultures while studying at a top European University.

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Michigan State Marketing and International Comparative Dimensions In Europe

On this program, Michigan State University business students receive extensive contact with European executives and officials, while staying in the heart of Paris, France and travelling to business and cultural centers in Barcelona, Spain, Zurich, Switzerland, and Brussels, Belgium.

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Texas State Barcelona Business Program

In this program, Texas State University McCoy College of Business students diversify their educational experience and prepare to compete in the global economy. Participants take courses in marketing, production and operations management, and enterprise IT taught by Texas State faculty. The group visits companies to apply their coursework to the local environment. They also participate in weekly cultural outings and lectures on the economic and cultural conditions in Spain.

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University of Richmond Barcelona Semester Exchange Program

University of Richmond students live and study in Barcelona on a semester exchange program studying business, political science, communications, and other subjects. The program combines coursework either at ESADE or at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra with cultural outings, excursions, and intercultural workshops.

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Texas A&M Barcelona Cultural Studies Program

Texas A&M students participate in a total immersion learning experience in Barcelona. The program places excursions and cultural outings at the core of instruction and offers students the possibility to learn on-site about the city from its Roman origins to its modern days. Classes are imparted in different historical locations (museums, medieval cities, architectural landmarks) as well as at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Following the four-week program, students can choose to extend their stay in Barcelona to participate in the six week International Summer School at the UPF.

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Texas A&M Barcelona Global Health Program

Texas A&M students study global health at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra with two courses: Comparative Health Systems and Medical Spanish. Students live with host families and participate in weekly cultural outings and excursions to develop cross-cultural skills and improve their Spanish language abilities. Participants can opt to extend their stay for an additional 5 weeks and do an internship with a primary care physician or in a laboratory.

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Texas A&M Barcelona Semester Architecture Program

Texas A&M architecture students spend a semester in Barcelona studying architecture at the Barcelona Architecture Center. The courses include urban planning, Spanish and European architecture, design studios, and construction science. They participate in an intensive orientation session upon arrival and enjoy a group meal to experience the local cuisine.

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Texas A&M Barcelona Art and Architecture Program

The Texas A&M Barcelona Art and Architecture Program emphasizes the interlinking roles of art, culture, and architecture, enabling students to explore the rich historic and multi-cultural context of Barcelona. The group visits the city’s cultural institutions and important architectural and historical sites, while learning about communication and design philosophy. The students travel to Madrid for the Photo España festival and to Bilbao, Sevilla, or Santiago de Compostela to photograph and learn about the art and architecture of these cities.

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Texas A&M Barcelona Construction Science Program

Texas A&M construction science students visit local construction companies, law firms, and city development organizations to learn about the laws and policies of construction, development, and historical preservation in Spain. After mid-day meals at some of Barcelona’s best cafés, the group visits cultural and historical sites to learn about Barcelona’s history and culture.

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Texas A&M Mays Barcelona Business Program

Texas A&M Mays students take courses in international business and European integration. The students visit local companies and participate in cultural activities to gain international exposure and develop cross-cultural skills.

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Texas A&M Semester Direct Enrollment Barcelona Program at the UPF

Texas A&M students from all colleges live and study in Barcelona for a semester studying at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The program is designed to immerse participants in the city and culture. Students live with a host family, study with local and international sutdents, and participate in exciting activities and excursions throughout the semester.

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Meadows Museum of Art Barcelona Program

Meadows Museum of Art students participated in a two-week program based in Barcelona that brought them face to face with the works they discussed in seminars at the museum. There were guided visits of Gaudí, Dalí, Picasso, and Miró, in addition to traveling to Montserrat, Montblac, Poblet, Santes Creus, and Sitges. The group dined daily at top restaurants and stayed in select hotels. A unique feature was the visit to the home and studio of the renowned Catalan sculptor, Xavier Corberó.

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Posts

WHERE FOOD IS MORE THAN JUST SUSTENANCE (understanding Spain through its food culture)

¡Hola de nuevo! I hope you are all having a fantastic time in Seville. After almost two months here (yes, time flies!) I am sure you are already quite familiar with our gastronomy and words such as tapas or churros are already part of your vocabulary. But our gastronomy is much more than new flavors; it’s a fantastic gate to understand our culture: Expression of our rich cultural heritage In our last post, we talked about Spain’s cultural heritage, and our cuisine is a fantastic way of discovering it! The Romans taught us how to cultivate wheat and vines, which explains why we love bread and wine so much. The Arabs brought to Al-Andalus new ways of cultivating fruit, vegetables and our precious olive oil. They also introduced new products that are now part of our most renowned dishes, for example rice (no paella without it), spinach (have you already tried our famous espinacas con garbanzos?), sugar cane, or citrics (yes, that means our delicious oranges). The Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Visigoths also left their mark our gastronomy. Oranges Tapas, a way of living A tapa, which literally means ‘cover’ or ‘lid’, was originally a hunk of bread that was placed over the glass of beverages to keep the flies out. This simple concept evolved to its current meaning, a style of eating. Going for tapas means sociability, cherished moments with your family and friends and informal gatherings in a relaxed atmosphere. If you are going for tapas, you know more or less when you are starting but you have no idea how the day will end (what we call in Andalusia a relío is not unlikely to happen: going for some relaxed tapas and ending up late at night or even early in the morning). Tapas We love food During my study abroad time in Australia, I remember my flatmates telling me ‘You Spaniards talk all the time about food’. And it is quite true, we are very proud of our cuisine and love sharing our family recipes (everyone will tell you how his/her grandma makes the best croquetas/gazpacho/whatsoever). Food is a way of relating to each other, of finding things in common. In other countries food is seen as way of getting nutrients for your body, here it is a ritual that has its times and steps (therefore our very particular meal times). When we cook, we put a lot of time and effort into it and we love a nice and colorful presentation. But the most important thing is enjoying your meal with your family and friends, and creating a shared moment. When food is finished, instead of quickly leaving, we have what we call a sobremesa (literally ‘over the table’): time for chatting and simply enjoying each other’s company. For Spaniards how we eat is as important as what we eat. Tapas restaurant And well, as you can see I could talk about food forever, but it’s better if you go and taste it! See you soon at the ESA picnic!

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“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the waaaaaaay”

Winter is coming, we all know that, didn’t you notice the cold? But so it’s Christmas! These days that we spend with our family and friends. The ones who have behaved good will receive many presents, and those who haven’t… too! Christmas is the time when people show all of their kindness and you can notice these feelings in almost everyone. For those who are living in Spain, and especially in Sevilla, there are some facts you should know that we have not in common with you. For example, to begin with, I think you all know who this famous person is: [caption id="attachment_1312" align="aligncenter" width="214"]Papa Noel Papa Noel[/caption] Yeah! It’s Santa Claus. He is supposed to live in Finland during the year, close to Rovaniemi. Here, though, we call him Papá Noel. It would be like “father Noel”, and he is supposed to come every Christmas Eve, after dinner, to our houses, knock our door and leave a few presents. You may be wondering why did I say a few, and that’s because we don’t get our presents on Christmas day! We wait until almost the end of our holiday period, January 6th, the morning when we all wake up and find many presents mainly in the living room. And who has left all these presents? We believe it’s the Three Wise Men (or in Spanish, Los Reyes Magos). [caption id="attachment_1313" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Reyes Magos Reyes Magos[/caption] Their names are Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. The last one is supposed to be a person of colour. Most children here go nuts about their arrival during the night of the 5th of January to the 6th. They leave sweets, three glasses of wine, and even water bowls for the thirsty camels! I have been doing it myself for many years… Besides, the Three Wise Men appear in the Nativity scene. In Spain this is an important thing, and you will see that, apart from the Christmas tree, many families put a nativity scene in their houses (mainly in the hall or the living room). These nativity scenes can be tiny ones (with Mary, Joseph and little Jesus) or incredibly big. You’ll see many fans of this tradition, some people even install fountains or an electricity system for all of the houses of the town of Bethlehem, where baby Jesus was born. Another fact you should know is that we don’t have Christmas trees farms. And it’s a pity. Most of us have plastic trees (some of them full of dust because they turn old). But, remember, we have cool nativity scenes! On Christmas holidays, students don’t have classes from around December 20th until January 8th. We celebrate Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) which takes place on December 24th evening, la comida del día de Navidad (big meal at Christmas day), Nochevieja (New Year's Eve) and la Cabalgata de Reyes, that is, a big parade on the evening of January 5th. The Three Wise Men are there (normally they are famous local people in the city, such as the Mayor of the city, dressed up like them) and they toss away many sweets and even give away jamones! I hope you all enjoy these days our traditions - you’ll see fantastic Christmas decoration and many Christmas markets in the city center. Maybe you’ll want to buy the first figures of the nativity scene to start your own in the US!

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Cultural shock

Congratulations! You have survived living a whole month in Spain! During this time you have already had a bunch of funny moments with the lovely Spaniards. You are getting used quickly to one of the best traditions (siesta, anyone?) and beginning to appreciate the weirdest ones (are you missing your personal space?). Maybe at the beginning you found some things annoying that you will miss when you come back to your country, so try to take the best of the experience getting in touch with Spaniards, and taking into account that what you may consider impolite could be something polite in this culture! Let’s consider some examples: punto 6

  1.    Punctuality. We are well-known for not being very punctual, if you hang out with a Spaniard, she/he will not arrive late, you will have arrived too soon! The concept of time among good friends is pretty relative as 10-15 minutes later is considered on time. When she/he arrives, you will hear a lot of stories explaining why she or he is late.Quedamos sobre las 6pm= we are meeting AROUND 6pm, which actually means: we are meeting at 6:15pm
  2. Touch, touch, and more touch! We love touching, even if we don’t know you, we are going to give you a kiss on each cheek when we see you. That’s a cultural rule! The other one is related to body language which means that everything we try to say is accompanied by gestures (they all make sense to us) and by touching your arm or your shoulder. Believe me, we are not flirting or trying to spread germs to everyone, it is just that we don’t know what personal space bubble means!Ps: yes, we kiss when we meet and when we say goodbye. However, men just shake hands with other men.
  3. ¡Mañana! That is the Spanish keyword. We really think it can solve all the problems we have. If we need to do something boring or we have to go somewhere we don’t feel like going or meet someone we don’t feel like meeting, we just say: ¡mañana!Let’s check some common expressions:Mañana lo hago: I’ll do it tomorrow (liar…) Pásate mañana: come back tomorrow (I don’t feel like doing it now) Mañana te llamo: I’ll call you tomorrow Nos vemos: we’ll meet someday (Very common expression used when you bump into someone in the street you haven’t seen in a long time, and you both know that nos vemos doesn’t literally mean “we see each other” but “it’s not in my plans but I hope we can see each other in a situation like this one”) Or worse, all together: mañana nos vemos
  4.   ¿Qué te pasa qué tienes esa cara? Literally it would be: what’s up with you having that face? This actually means that you don’t look good and we are asking if you have any problem. This is not impolite and we really say this to our friends. Directness among friends means politeness. More confianza (reliability) you have, more direct you can be.
  1. We need bread as you need peanut butter. Bread is part of the Spanish culture since Romans introduced it in Hispania. Besides, Spanish bread has no extra sugar which makes it pretty healthy. Everyday you have to go to the bakery and have a small talk with the baker you know since you moved to your neighborhood. Loyalty to this baker can be awarded with the best bread he has and he keeps only for you because he knows you  will always go to his place. Kinds of bread:
Barra de pan (baguette) punto 5 Pan de chapata punto 5 chapata Viena punto 5 viena Mollete punto 5 mollete
  1.  “Private” life. We like talking, talking to everyone even if we don’t know them. People older than 45 years old, probably keep this feature more than youngsters. They will talk to you as if you were their kids or even their grandchildren. This is great for practising the language plus taking part in the gossiping activity is good for health (at least we believe that here.)
  2. Me relié.  For those studying in Andalucía the verb reliarse is really important, it means that you were going out for a while with your friends, but life just happens and you come back home too early…next morning!
See you in the next post :)

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Educational system – U.S. vs. Spain

entradablog1 Remembering my time abroad in the U.S. brings me many good memories; but just like how many of you feel now, I was surprised with a few things. It is probably all of the American College movies that I have watched that affected my mind and gave me the stereotypes of Greek life and American football, but in reality the fraternities/sororities didn’t seem that crazy and American football wasn’t that hard to understand either - I actually ended up enjoying the matches with everyone. However, the stereotypes of the dining halls were true: healthy options were way more expensive than junk food. We might not have clubs or big dorms or big sport stadiums like university campuses in the United States, but you will certainly like Spain’s cultural and educational differences just as much as I did there. The first thing that you will notice when walking into a Spanish classroom is that everyone already knows each other. In Spain, we start and end our college life with the same classmates and most of the times in the same classrooms. This is very different from classroom culture in the US where there may be both seniors and freshman in the same class. Another thing that is expected here is that all the classmates together do a pretty exciting trip at the end of the university called “Viaje de Fin de Carrera”. How to apply for university probably shocked me the most. For example, I learned in the United States that students apply for a specific university, and they can freely change major at almost any point. In Spain, we have to apply for a certain degree and stick with it for the entire time. In order to apply we have to obtain la nota de corte (the minimum grade to get into a specific degree) in Selectividad (university access exams). Holidays in the US were also surprising for me. For instance, Thanksgiving was something that I never experienced before but I enjoyed getting to learn about - I was so full after having to eat all that food! Feria de Abril and Semana Santa (Holy Week) are two of the holidays that you will get to experience in Sevilla and that you will only get to see once a year. If you want to experience Sevilla’s culture, I highly recommend you to go to these events. It will definitely be something that you will never forget. Just like I did before I went to the US and even while there, I bet you had (or have) a lot of stereotypes about Spain and the Spanish people. It is true that you may feel overwhelmed sometimes but that is okay because by the end of the semester you will become so accustomed to living in Sevilla that you will not want to leave. See you in the next post!

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Sports, an International Way of Culture

  Captura American football, basketball, soccer, handball... all these sports shape nationalities and countries all around the world. Spanish fútbol, which has nothing to do with the American way of playing, is one of the most important sports for Spaniards. Fútbol or soccer (so you know what I’m talking about) is part of the Spanish culture and it has become a social act. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are an active player. You just need to support your favorite team! A great percent of the population is highly interested in fútbol, and also Spain is widely known because of its fútbol teams and players. But this is not the only sporting event seen as a social activity. When the Olympics start, families and friends meet to follow the competitions and check how their compatriots perform. Although Spain is not living its Golden Age of Sports anymore, we still remember those days and feel really proud of that historical moment. This country started to get stronger at sports after the Olympics were celebrated in Barcelona in 1992. This glorious period lasted until 2012, according to most sport journalists. Within this period, we’ve won 22 medals in Barcelona ’92, World Men’s Handball Championship (2005), FIBA World Championship (2006), UEFA European Football Championship (2008 and 2012), and the 2010 FIFA World Cup among others. But is Spain knocked out from the international sport scene today? And what’s more, is soccer the only glorious sport in Spain? I don’t think so. Actually, there are other popular sports in Spain such as tennis, Moto GP, or Formula One. They are specially catching to Spaniards because our country holds the best positions of the ranking. Let’s look at some of our sport stars: nadal Rafa Nadal (Mallorca, 3rd June 1986), the best Spanish tennis player ever according to most of sport experts and players. He is 29 years old and started playing in ATP with only 15. Nowadays he is no. 5 in the ATP ranking. He’s won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, 27 titles in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, and the gold medal in singles in the Olympic Games 2008. He is already part of the Spanish sport history. marquez Marc Márquez (Lleida, 17th February 1993). With only 22 years old, he has won world championship titles in three different categories: 2010 125cc World Championship, 2012 Moto2 World Championship and Moto GP World Championship for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014). He is an example of young and successful rider. Moto GP is being a trend among teenagers and adults due to his victories! alonso Fernando Alonso (Oviedo, 29th July 1981). He is a Formula One racing driver. He started karting at the age of 3 and it became his passion. He made his debut at F1 with Minardi, although he has also driven with McLaren, Renault, and Ferrari cars. Now he has returned to McLaren. His greatest achievements were Formula One World Drivers’ Championships (2005 and 2006). carolina Carolina Marín (Huelva, 15th June 1993). She is only 22 and she has been proclaimed World Badminton Champion twice! Taking into account that Asiatic countries has always leaded badminton tournaments, it is important to highlight she is the first non-Asiatic player that wins two world competitions in a row. She is ranked number 1 in the Badminton World Federation Women’s Singles 2015. We hope she wins in Rio! These are just some of the most important and international sportsmen and sportswomen. We hope they and the rest of athletes that are training really hard will do their best in the next Olympic games that will take place in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in August 2016. Two hundred and six countries will compete and forty-two sports will be contested, from Greco-roman wrestling to fencing! We have high expectations for Spain’s performance and we hope to get some medals. We especially rely on badminton, tennis, synchronized swimming, fútbol, and handball. Maybe the Olympics will not only bring us prizes, but also the revival of the Spanish Golden Age. I don’t want you to think I am neither too ambitious nor conceited, but dreaming is free, isn’t it? Let the games begin and may the best team win!

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Getting to know more about fall semester’s national holidays

One of the few stereotypes you might have heard about Spain before coming to study abroad to Seville is that people in Spain are always on vacations and never work. This isn’t quite true, although I should say we have 12 paid holiday days, in addition to the legal 22 paid vacation days every worker is allowed to have. Concerning national holidays, you might already know you’re going to have a long weekend (in Spain we call it puente) this week, but what is it about? October 12 is the National Day in Spain, also called Día de la Hispanidad or Fiestas del Pilar. It’s also celebrated in other Hispanic countries, as it’s the day Christopher Columbus (or Cristobal Colón, as we call him in Spanish) set foot on the Americas for the first time. To commemorate this day, the King of Spain raises the Spanish National Flag, followed by a military parade in Madrid. In fact, Zaragoza is the place where a big celebration is made out of it, having into account the Virgen del Pilar (Virgin of the Pillar) is their patron saint. However, in the rest of the country, most people show no excitement about this celebration, and use these holidays to travel, visit the family, or just relax. As well as that, the weekend we’ll spend in Morocco (October 30-November 2) will coincide with another puente (long weekend), since November 1 is the Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day). This day is just for families to remember their friends and relatives that are already gone. Christian families celebrate this day by going to church and going to the cemetery to put some fresh flowers by their relatives’ graves. In addition to this, before the Día de Todos los Santos we celebrate Halloween, as you could have imagined. Although we didn’t use to celebrate Halloween some years ago, now is getting more and more popular. It isn’t exactly the same as in the States and there are some big differences regarding customs, decoration, parties, cakes, etc. For example, you dress up as a witch or as a vampire to go to a Halloween-themed party and you won’t find houses and buildings decorated with pumpkins or spider’s web. And last but not least, before Christmas Holidays, we have two more national days! December 6 is the Día de la Constitución Española, the day our current constitution was enacted back in 1978, right after the 36-year-long Dictadura franquista (Franco’s dictatorship) got to an end. On the other hand, December 8 is the Día de la Inmaculada Concepción, patron saint of the Spanish Marine Corps or just Infantería Española. Since these two dates are so close to each other, there are usually some long holidays. There is a full agenda of events and shows to celebrate all along this puente in Sevilla too, like the seises, the tuna concerts, etc. If you’re wondering what those things are, the seises are a group of ten children who dance and play music in front of the Cathedral. This event only takes place three times all over the year and it goes a long way back to the XVII century. Regarding the tuna concerts, it’s not about the tuna fish making music, but a tuna in Spanish is a musical group composed by university students. This is all regarding the fall semester’s holidays. If you want to know more about the Spanish and Andalusian holidays during the spring semester, you’ll just have to let us know!

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Sarah Hoover: “Seville is more similar to western culture than I had anticipated”

I study Sociology with a concentration in Applied Social and Cultural Studies. I’m originally from Wilmington, Delaware (the proud home of Vice President Joe Biden), right outside of Philadelphia. 10444393_10205639187796140_7339393168227902237_n Seville is more similar to western culture than I had anticipated, and I live a very comfortable life in Spain. The weather is always sunny, the people are friendly and the food is amazing. Now that it’s spring, all of the beautiful orange trees are blooming and the whole city smells like orange blossoms. My host mother, Gumersinda is one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met and treats me just like her daughter. She takes care of me when I’m sick and scolds me when I don’t wear enough layers outside! It’s great staying with a host family because I’m learning Spanish so quickly and get to talk to Gumersinda about her family and her daily life. Plaza de Espana Edit Sevilla is a very traditional city and Sevillano’s take pride in their heritage, so I love learning about the culture of Andalucia, such as the flamenco dancing, bull fighting, or cooking. We had a cooking class with ESA a few weeks ago and learned how to make Paella, which is my new favorite food! University of New England: similarities and differences in comparison with UPO UNE is a small, private university which is a lot different than UPO. Pablo de Olavide does a great job in taking care of their international students, such as planning excursions like hiking trips to Cortegana, tours of a local olive oil factory or trips to the movies. They also set up language tables during the week where you can practice your Spanish, and have a strong intercambio program so the American and Spanish students can meet and talk together. UNE is also devoted to helping us make the most of our college experience, so it’s nice feeling taken care of in both countries. Why Sevilla, Spain I’ve always had a love for travelling, and I’ve known I wanted to study abroad since I was in 9th grade. One of my main goals right now is to be fluent in Spanish, and when I found out we had a program with our school to go to Sevilla, it seemed perfect. Shortly after coming here, I fell in love with this great city and its people, and now I feel I found my purpose of studying abroad. 10999889_10206111206164965_1594666933586102155_n (1) (1) I would highly recommend coming to Sevilla to study or travel. When I first decided to come to Spain, I talked to many people and asked them their opinions on Sevilla. Every person I spoke to said Sevilla was one of their favorite places to visit, and I finally understand why. Sevilla is so rich in culture and life and positivity. The atmosphere and lifestyle of Spain in general is more relaxed than the United States, and I’m constantly reminded that there’s more to life than rushing around getting from place to place. Walking down the street you see people young and old sitting in the sun enjoying a nice café con leche or a sweet pastry. The city is full of families walking together, moms pushing strollers and children running around playing with their siblings. The many parks of Sevilla are full of people running, picnicking, and just enjoying the day. Living in Sevilla teaches me to live fully in the present and make the most of each day I have here in this paradise! Cultural shock? As I mentioned before, my host mother is amazing. She makes me all of my meals and does my laundry. She used to be a chef, and she makes some incredible dishes for meals. I’ve been very fortunate and haven’t had any culture shock with food or routines. Spaniards eat lunch and dinner very, very late compared to America and for some people this can take some getting used to. Usually I eat lunch at home around 3:30 and dinner around 9:30 or later. For me, it wasn’t a difficult process because I’m used to eating dinner late with my own family, but my friends have all adjusted very quickly and now it seems totally normal to them. DCIM132GOPRO Returning home will be hard, but I’m planning on taking parts of Spain with me. I’ve picked up many great new perspectives on life, and have realized that there are different ways of living than just the one you’re born into. I can’t wait to cook traditional Spanish food for my family, tell my friends about the newest European style and make sure to take the time to enjoy the day for myself. Living in Sevilla these past few months have been truly wonderful, and I know when it’s time to go home, although sad, I’ll forever keep Sevilla and the friends I’ve made along the way close to my heart.

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A visit to the CAAC, Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art

[caption id="attachment_884" align="alignnone" width="283"]Monastery of the Cartuja. Photo by Amalia Ordóñez. Monastery of the Cartuja. Photo by Amalia Ordóñez.[/caption] Since 1997, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo has been considered one of the main places that house contemporary masterpieces in Andalusia. It’s located in the Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas, better known as Monastery of the Cartuja. This area, where the monastery is now, was first born in the 12th century, when the Almohads set up several ovens to fire clay. Little by little the Cartuja got built by some members of the Sevillian aristocracy that were established there, as well as some figures of the Church. However, it was in the 19th century when an English businessman, Charles Pickman, purchased the Cartuja and transformed it into a pottery factory that would become world-renowned. [caption id="attachment_885" align="alignnone" width="288"]Chimneys used in the former ceramic factory. Photo by María de las Heras Chimneys used in the former ceramic factory. Photo by María de las Heras[/caption] In 1992, it was held in Seville the Universal Exhibition, an event that led to the conversion of the pottery factory into a cultural center, today known as the Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art. What surprises the most about this center is the contrast between its buildings (mostly chapels, a church, some indoor patios, as the ones in the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar of Seville) and the abstract paintings that are exhibited in its rooms. [caption id="attachment_886" align="alignnone" width="323"]Entrance to the Monastery. Photo by Cristina Esquivel. Entrance to the Monastery. Photo by Cristina Esquivel.[/caption]

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A chronicle of a Granada Trip

Waking for an early morning of long bus rides, us UNE students had no idea what was in store for our little adventure to Granada. After a two hour trip southeast of our home in Seville, I found myself in a beautiful city, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Quite a change from Seville, we stepped off the bus into a cloudy and damp atmosphere, a nice cool breeze rolling through the streets. The walk to our hotel was a brief, yet beautiful view; the buildings and streets of Granada were so different from those of Seville, a perfect mixture of modernity and antiquity. A quick stop at our hotel and we were off on one of those Rubenesque adventures (featuring long walks through beautiful scenery, uphill, through rain). Honestly, from the moment I stepped onto the street, I fell in love with this city. We walked through these old gothic-style gates, stepped over puddles and weaved through the umbrella salesmen to head to the main part of the city. Looking upwards, relief statues littered the buildings, marble and stone eyes following us as we traversed the streets. [caption id="attachment_743" align="alignnone" width="515"] Halie Pruitt[/caption] At one point during our walk we passed what we assumed was a statue, but instead was a beautiful street performing angel. Although living, this angel blended in with her surroundings so naturally that it was difficult to pick her out at first! [caption id="attachment_744" align="alignnone" width="343"]Halie Pruitt Halie Pruitt[/caption] Even during this “short” tour of the city, you could see the obvious connections to Morocco. Although the walls and buildings in the main part of the city were highly ornate buildings with Spanish influence, the small shops squished on either side of the walkways had Morocco spilling out of them. The tea and herb shops, the foreign dialect ringing in my ears, and, above all, HAREM PANTS. Obviously we saw the typical city sites-- Cute puppies and street musicians-- but the city was so different than what I had experienced previously. We could walk down a roadway and see crumbling antiquated buildings and bridges that have probably been there for hundreds of years, turn our heads and see new buildings and geometrically shaped street lights. But grabbing tapas and checking out the stores could not prepare me for the wonder that Granada held for us-- The Alhambra and Generalife [caption id="attachment_745" align="alignnone" width="515"]Halie Pruitt Halie Pruitt[/caption] Now, I’ll be real with y’all, I was so extremely exhausted that I wasn’t sure I could survive out at the Alhambra. This feeling didn’t change until we reached the top of the hill and saw cannons and palaces. Looking at the sheer magnitude of these buildings really put my mind in its place. We were standing on these grounds, looking across the empty lands and looking back on a small part of history. Before we entered, our tour guide told us how there had once been several buildings akin to the Alhambra that had been blown up-- these were the only ones that stood today because a one-armed man went around to diffuse the explosives. I got excited. We hadn’t seen the inside of the buildings yet, but if this man was willing to single handedly diffuse explosions and defy the regime, they must have been worth it…. they must be amazing. Words cannot describe the wonder found within the body of the Alhambra. I have visited monuments, I have seen exquisite architecture, and I am close friends with beauty. The transition from the exterior-- a very plain brick structure-- to the interior was astounding. The walls were laden with highly ornate floral designs, all in plaster with extreme attention to detail. The ceiling was crafted with ornate wooden panels, designs and geometric patterns etched, visions of the night sky overhead. With the arabic on the walls and the faded colors, I felt as though I had stepped into another world; the pale white of the plaster became laden with colors of days long since past and revealed its true beauty. Rather than listening to me fumble at an attempt to describe what I feel is one of the true wonders of the world, you should just book your plane ticket now and head out to Granada. [caption id="attachment_746" align="alignnone" width="515"]Halie Pruitt Halie Pruitt[/caption] As the sun slowly set on our first day in Granada, we began our hike to the Generalife. Meant to be a summer house for the Nasrid kings in Granada, the Generalife was surrounded by luscious gardens, gigantic hedges, and lengthy pools. Reaching the top of the hill where the actual summer house was located, we were followed by the fragrance of summer roses and honey suckle. Once we entered the building, it seemed as though the sun had stuck around long enough to grace us with the perfect warm array of yellows and oranges. Too comforting, in fact, because at this point our little group was ready to fall asleep on the closest hedge or friendly looking rose bush. And so our little tour ended here and we walked down from the mountain back into town. Dinner with Ruben is always a spectacle. Returning from the Alhambra, we had a short time to get ready and head out. Leaving the hotel, we heard music and cheering. A festival? Upon further examination, we had walked into a crowd of seniors dancing classically in a square close to our restaurant. It was an omen of a great night for us UNE students. Dinner consisted of 2 fantastic plates and dessert. Dessert obviously caused the largest debate among our group, but we eventually were able to order and complete our meal. Tuckered out from a fabulous day featuring amazing food, sights, and conversation, this girl was ready for bed! Opening my windows the next morning provided me with a pleasant surprise. Jackie and I had been given a room on the 4th floor with a spectacular view of the city. Not awake long enough to enjoy this sight, we were whisked off on another one of Ruben’s adventures! Here is a note of warning, if you ever see Ruben with this face, be prepared for a hike. [caption id="attachment_747" align="alignnone" width="515"]Halie Pruitt Halie Pruitt[/caption] So, we began our uphill adventure. With slopes steeper than your average mountain (or so it seemed) we traversed the streets of Granada to get the perfect view of the city. On our way, we spotted unique graffiti and people who were not dying from the incline. [caption id="attachment_748" align="alignnone" width="515"]Halie Pruitt Halie Pruitt[/caption] However, once we reached the top, we understood why Ruben had brought us here. Guitar players surrounded the plaza that had a perfect overlook to the Alhambra. The sun of this early day lit up the hazy sky and left all content to take pictures and pet adorable puppies. We were released from Ruben’s custody (JK <3) and split up to shop and eat on our own accord. I enjoyed an afternoon of shopping for scarves and pizza with Amelia until heavy rain forced us back to the hotel. Making the best of an unfortunate situation, we settled down at the hotel lobby and watched movies. Soon the rest of our group returned, bustled in by the wind and rain as well. Thus came an end to our Granada experience. Visiting Granada has been one of my favourite experiences throughout my life, and makes me even more excited to visit Morocco and our fellow UNE students! I really enjoyed spending quality time with these guys, and can’t wait to have more adventures!

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Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena

[caption id="attachment_733" align="alignnone" width="515"]UNE Sevilla students at the hospital UNE Sevilla students at the hospital[/caption] Last September 19th 2014, UNE students were given a tour of the Macarena Hospital (forever more called “the hospital” because that is one long hospital name). The hospital is located in the Sevilla’s city center and is quite large, at least comparatively to hospitals in Maine. While at the hospital, we were allowed to observe patients on kidney dialysis, enter a cardiovascular operating room, and visit several labs. Needless to say, we geeked out. Aside from observing cancerous vs non cancerous cells under the microscope, my favorite part was the operating room and the “man behind the curtain room” (I made up this nickname… It’s not actually called that!) Just outside the operating room is a n area with cameras recording all the cardiovascular operations happening within the unit. Doctors from the hospital can watch, analyze, and share their successes and failures with doctors around the world- which is quite amazing! It certainly is a progression in healthcare as the sharing of knowledge is vital for innovation. Spain’s healthcare system, like every other industrialized country in the world EXCEPT the US, is universal. That means that every individual in Spain has access to healthcare and the government pays for (at least some) of the bill. While many Americans believe that universal healthcare is “socialized,” it’s really not. Moreover, I think it bodes well to point out that the US currently ranks the worst out of the top 11 wealthiest country… Oh, and we spend the most money. Not to mention, even with the implementation of Obamacare (which, in my personal opinion, is a step in the right direction) 8% of our population will still remained uninsured! placing even larger strains on an already broken system. But those are just my thoughts… What are yours? This semester, I am taking a Medical Anthropology class that looks at medicinal practices from countries across the globe. So far, a major theme has been the differences between Eastern medicine and Western medicine. While eastern takes on a more holistic, natural method, western medicine is science based and largely treats the human body as a “machine” to be fixed. As a purely scientific mind, I am struggling to see the wider view of eastern medicine. Yet, I recognize that there are benefits to both methods. Which method is the “best” and how do we decide that? Moreover, what are the implications for healthcare worldwide?

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The Adventurer of the Year: Kilian Jornet

Truth is stranger than fiction! Are you motivated to go running when it’s pouring outside? How about in a snowstorm? Can you imagine running 500 miles in 7 days or 165 miles in 28 hours? Well, the Catalan outdoor sports superman, Kilian Jornet has done it! He crossed the Pyrenees Mountains from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic! This sums up to 27 miles of positive grade. I can't even wrap my head around that idea. This endeavor is comparable to climbing several times up and down Mount Everest!! Does the Tahoe Rim trail, sound more familiar? 165 miles of single track, winding from peak to peak around Lake Tahoe. Kilian did it in 28 hours flat!! What about sleep? Well, 1 hour was enough for him. Each person has a hero: Superman, Spiderman, Gandhi. Mine is Kilian Jornet! Read more about him at: www.kilianjornet.cat and in Adventurer of the Year 2014: www.adventure.nationalgeographic.com

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Be Rich and Smart, Be Bilingual!

Being bilingual makes you smarter...and richer! So, welcome to the clever (and wealthy) region, CATALUNYA, where 84.7% of its population speak both Spanish and Catalan. By in large, bilingualism increases executive functioning and decision-making abilities! If still you are not convinced: bilinguals earn on average $7,000 more per year than their monolingual peers. There is even evidence that it delays the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia as well as other neurological problems. Hablamos? Venga, Som-hi! Si us plau! References: Gray Matter, Why Bilinguals Are Smarter, in The New York Times, March 17, 2012 and Generalitat de Catalunya, Department de la Vicepresidencia y Secretaria de Politica Linguistica, Catalan, language of Europe,  

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