My first week on this Spain Study Abroad trip was jam-packed and full of activities! Being abroad in Europe is an experience significantly different from that of being in the United States when considering diversity. I would advise others to expect a lot less diversity. Although, there are many other Europeans who come from the Netherlands, Hungary, France, Belgium, and many more neighboring European countries. It is a little harder to see people from the Americas in Spain unless they come in as tourists for a shorter period of time. This week, my group and I visited two Spanish cities named Alicante and Granada. In Alicante, my roommate buddy and I stay in an apartment right in the middle of the city, which is an advantage because we can walk around and explore the area without significantly losing our way. Google Maps will be your best friend and has been mine for my stay abroad because if you are as bad at directions as I am, it is a humongous help.
We have had the pleasure of visiting the University of Alicante to learn from Social Work students and professors and walking around important landmarks of the city like the Mercado Central, which is essentially a large fresh market where one can buy all their necessary groceries. We have managed to fit in time to reflect on our cultural experiences every other day by sitting in parks with our professors to enjoy the fresh air, talk about what we have observed, and relate it back to the differences we notice from the U.S. Now let us talk about the food! I have been living in a host apartment with a host mom who my roommate and I think is the best cook. She has made us a variety of different foods everyday for lunch and dinner like lentils, baked spinach snack balls, soup, salads and tons of deserts like fruits and cake like flan and cheesecake. We really got lucky with our host family and are so grateful that we really have not had time to eat out since the food is so good at home.
For the weekend, our group traveled to Granada by car for a more cultural experience since it is a city full of historical significance for the country of Spain. We did plenty of activities that really enriched the idea of becoming immersed into the Spanish culture. We attended a flamenco show, visited cave communities in the mountains and cathedrals, and even visited the Alhambra, which was my most anticipated part of the trip. The Alhambra played a vital role in Spanish culture as it came from an Islamic background, acting as a military front for the large amount of the Muslim population in Spain in the 15th century, which I had only learned about in this adventurous trip abroad. The group and I have spent the entire week walking everywhere around to the point where we may not be able to feel our legs, but it is so worth it to be able to see all that we are experiencing. Below are pictures of all the places we have seen so far and one of my group and professors!