IU student traveler


IU student traveler

I'm off to Spain this June for my first study abroad experience, the summer before my sophomore year. 😊 Keep an eye on my blog to see how this all turns out!
As an international studies and spanish student, I am thrilled to be going on my first solo international trip. Some of the places I've loved visiting in the past are: Denmark, Italy, Norway, Greece, France, Switzerland, Montenegro, Germany, and Turkey (my favorite!).

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona July 4th 2012

Today reminded me a lot of my Nations, States, and Boundaries class for my International Studies major this past semester. What is a state? A nation? Where is the overlap? The United States of America defines itself as a collection of states under one red, white, and blue flag and national government. However, it is not a nation. Few countries are both nations and states (nation-states). According to Wikipedia (I know, legit source right? Good thing my English teachers aren’t here), “The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity.” Japan is a nation-state because it is politically, geopolitically, culturally, and ethnically homogenous. Americans are united by our government, but incredibly varied in ethnicity and culture. We are the melting pot of nations. Nonetheless, we exude patriotism (defined as ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada » Fuentes de Cesna July 1st 2012

Off to the last week of my journey! I have officially completed June, an entire month out of the U.S. As today begins July I'm sitting on a train heading towards Granada...with my mom!!! I'm so excited that she's here. Here's a catch-up on my past week:Wednesday: last day of classes and the semi-finals for soccer against Portugal. I went out to a bar with some friends to enjoy it with all of the excited Spaniards. Cerveza with lemon Fanta is delicious!Thursday: Final exams and a goodbye snack with CIEE friends: fellow students and the program directors.Friday: My madre drops me off at the airport to get my ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville » Triana June 24th 2012

This past weekend I went on an awesome two-day excursion with friends from the program: Sarah, Corey, and Jessica. I left my house by taxi at 6 AM on Saturday (it's not safe to walk alone at that time) and met up at Alcala's train station. We headed into Madrid to the main station and caught our AVE bullet train to Sevilla. The next morning we left early for Córdoba, in between Sevilla and Madrid. We had tons of fun even though the temperature was about 106° the whole time! Here are some of the highlights of the weekend: Sevilla Since my boyfriend said this was his favorite place in Spain, I knew I had to see it. When Sarah, Jessica, Corey, and I were trying to get to the center of town from the train ... read more

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid June 21st 2012

One of the fun parts about traveling is seeing how other people live, living their way, and sharing your culture with them. This "intercambio" is filled with excitement and learning, but also culture clashes. I've had both good and odd experiences with cultural differences... Last night I made an apple pie with my sister!! I'd never made one before, but my brother Andrés had requested apple pie. I decided to give it a shot, prepared for full out disaster. When I told my sister I thought I'd go to the supermarket, she offered to accompany me. I needed three things: nutmeg, butter, and pre-made pie crust. Pre-made pie crust in España, who was I kidding?! When we realized that piecrust wasn't sold there, we used her phone to find an "easy" recipe, and then bought those ... read more

Europe » Spain » Asturias » Cangas de Onis June 15th 2012

Traveling with over 20 people is never a good idea. Our tour bus picked us up early this morning and we got started on the 6-hour bus ride. The first problem that came up was that one girl didn’t make it in time! She got left behind as we began the group trip. According to Spanish law drivers have to stop to rest every few hours, so we made two stops where we enjoyed the picnics packed by our families. We passed from the Madrid area into Castilla-León, the original area of Spain before it added all of the rest of the autonomous communities. In Castilla there were fields of grapes and solar panels equally. Next came Asturias, our destination region. Mountainous and green with rivers, Asturias looks completely different from Madrid, which is suffering from ... read more

Tonight we're watching the soccer game together in the living room. All six of us are here, including Macarena with her Spain hat and war paint and Virginia in a Spain jersey. My mom spread a tablecloth over the coffee table and we're having Burger King! Awesome surprise. They got me orange fanta, my soda of choice here.Report on the duckies: Originally there were 4 cute ducklings and a mother duck. Yesterday there were 3 ducklings. Today there are only two! There are cats in our neighborhood, but I prefer Macarena's theory: they decided to leave. Unfortunately they are tiny little things who can't ... read more

19:00 Some of you asked what my life is like outside of school and day trips to other parts of Spain... I'm sitting in the plaza de Cervantes, the center square of Alcalà. I just pulled out my iPhone to write this because I've found that its easier to narrate my life out in the midst of things than at home on a laptop. Though this is usually a fun place, horns and whistles are blasting because a union of hospital workers is protesting. They're matching around the main street with a banner. Awesome... Now they're walking right past my nice quiet bench. I had thought it was getting louder... Ignoring them, the Plaza de Cervantes is beautiful. I don't remember if I've mentioned him before, but the famous writer Cervantes was born in Alcalà. Another ... read more

Last night I had it all figured out: 6:50 Wake up and get ready 7:00 Run 8:00 Shower and dress for school 8:20 Eat breakfast with Spanish madre, Marta 8:30 Leave for the bus stop 8:55 Arrive at school and get to classroom 9:00 Class: Literature of Latin America What happened? 8:35 Marta wakes me up and informs me of the time (surprised, I accidentally respond in English) 8:40 Leave for the bus stop (running) 8:43 Do makeup on the bus 9:00 Arrive at school just before the professor does 9:00 Class: Literature of Latin America Other than all of that, it was a good day! I purchased some breakfast at the café on campus during a break (along with a healthy dose of café con leche). I got to go shopping today after the siesta ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo » Madridejos June 8th 2012

Although I haven't finished writing blog 3, it's time to move on. I'm writing from the train on an adventure to Toledo! We don't have classes on Fridays, so at 9AM I left the train station in Alcala with my friends Corey and Sarah for a lovely day trip. It has been quite an adventure. We needed to take a train from Alcala to Madrid, buy tickets, and take another train to Toledo. However, we accidentally took the first train in the opposite direction! Hey, nobody else got to see Toledo AND Guadalajara today!! We had lots of time though to exchange our love histories and get to know each other better. After finally arriving in Madrid we learned how to buy train tickets, order coffee/breakfast at a cafe, and find a train. From various experiences ... read more

First off, I must apologize to my subscribers. I have been the most delinquent blogger! I think this shows you just how busy I've been since arriving in Spain. Ok... I guess I need to catch you all up on the happenings! Perhaps I'll share a list of highlights. Later, I'll explain the title of this entry. -Where do I live? Alcalá de Henares (a suburby-thing near Madrid) -With whom? I like to spend time with my family here, , the Oniegas: mom Marta, dad Miguel, brother Andrés (22), sister Virginia (20), sister Macarena (12), two French bulldogs, tortoises, and parakeets! They are all so nice and inclusive. Actually the only reason I’m finally able to update the blog is that this is my first time alone in the house. I love to spend time with ... read more

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