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Quien dice España, dice todo

Hello friends! Sorry I haven’t posted since I left I did not quite anticipate just how crazy life gets when you’re studying abroad. I’ve been in Spain for almost 3 weeks now and I am absolutely loving it. The first week I spent entirely with the group from UMKC, traveling on a bus from Madrid to Segovia, Toledo, Sevilla, Torremolinos, Frigiliana, Almuñécar, and Córdoba.

Frigiliana

 We woke up almost every day at 8 and spent the days exploring and walking around the cute towns and cities of southern Spain. We toured beautiful cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues and learned so much about the culture and history of Spain.

A random street in Madrid
The Royal Alcázar of Segovia

After a week of travel, we arrived in Granada around 1:30 on Monday afternoon where we met our host families and parted ways. From there I got set up in my new room and had dinner with my host family. I was surprised I could actually follow the conversation at dinner! That first week we spent getting ready for the placement test at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas building where we’re all taking classes. The biggest adjustment for me has been the lack of air conditioning in both public places and the home I’m staying in. Thankfully, my room has a little fan to keep me from dying, but most restaurants and bars I’ve visited have either had their air conditioning off or set to room temperature. Aside from that the differences are small; I get weird looks when I order ice to put in my coffee, restaurants, shops, and businesses shut down to take a siesta (nap) after lunch, dinner isn’t until 9:30, and lunch is the biggest meal of the day. But all in all, I think I’m adjusting pretty well to the Spaniard lifestyle, especially the naps! And having an amazing host family definitely makes this whole experience so much sweeter.

More to come!


Megan Schwindler is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying English Literature and Spanish. Megan is spending the summer abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

The Build-Up

Window seats are the best.

Welcome to “The One Where Natalie Goes to Spain”; a blog about my experience studying abroad for 6 weeks. I started this blog because it’s a requirement for a scholarship, but it will also be used for family and friends to receive updates on my adventures. I have never blogged before, and I am not a super open person so this could be quite interesting. Let’s do this…

Today’s topic is the build-up, meaning my pre-trip  and flight adventures.

Anybody that knows me knows that I procrastinate, which isn’t always a good thing. The trip was no exception. My flight leaves today (June 18) and just yesterday I bought my suitcase and began packing. Despite my love of procrastination, some things can’t be put off like getting a passport or booking a flight. I did those things months ago when the trip still seemed like a distant thought. Now I’m sitting in the airport waiting to board my first flight, and wow this trip feels so real. I am going to Spain…

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Today was Father’s Day so this morning we drove to Omaha, had a delicious meal (pictured to the left) to celebrate, and then drove to the airport. I said goodbye to my family and proceeded to the security checkpoint…. And never in my life have I been so nervous. I’m not hiding anything or carrying anything illegal, but something about all those TSA agents breeds fear. They pulled my carry-on aside to manually searched it, and my heart stopped. Again, I don’t know why I was so nervous because nothing I have is illegal or dangerous. After waiting around for a bit, we boarded and my first flight was underway. The trip finally became real and I’ve never been more excited in my life. More to come later in the week.

Natalie Rediger


Natalie Rediger is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Criminal Justice and Criminology. Natalie is spending six weeks of the summer studying abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Hola Amigos!

First off I’d like to apologize for not posting in ages. It’s been about three weeks since I’ve last written or posted anything due to traveling for 19 days during Easter Holiday, but now that I’m back it’s time to get you all caught up. I’ll start by saying that this trip was a lifetime experience that I do not regret, even with all the ups and downs. Our trip got off to a rough start simply because we had to catch a taxi at two in the morning to get our early flight. But, because our taxi was so early Jessica and I pulled an all-nighter and didn’t sleep until we landed in Madrid, Spain that afternoon. Madrid was a nice start to our trip because there wasn’t a lot to see on our list so it was very relaxing. As nervous as I was about trying to speak Spanish in Madrid, little did I know that Spain was the last place we would be before returning to London where I could somewhat understand the language. For some reason I didn’t anticipate how much of a struggle the language barrier would be, but we’ll get to that later. Anyways, back to Madrid! Madrid was lovely for many reasons, but the number one reason was because it was warm.

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Seeing and feeling the sun in Madrid was great and refreshing. We even went out one day and took pictures at the Temple de Debod. It’s a beautiful place and I recommend going. You get an amazing view of the city near the temple and there’s some people selling gorgeous jewelry. Another great thing about Madrid was we went to Park Del Retiro and paid to go out on the pond and row a boat for only 6 euros! You’ll be surprised (I was amazed) that we didn’t fall in.

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But even though the temple was beautiful and the boat ride was lovely, I’d say the best thing about Madrid was this little gelato shop right across from our Airbnb. We went there at least two times a day once we discovered it. No shame. But hey! We the flat was on the fifth floor, so we definitely worked it off by the time we got back.

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Our flight was nice and we were hosted by a lovely family with a baby. We had our own little room and when I mean little, you couldn’t stand up straight without hitting your head on the attic style ceiling. The good thing about this Airbnb was that we didn’t have to share a bed. The bad thing about this flat was that it was on the fifth floor and we had a difficult time unlocking the door. You’ll soon find out that this is a reoccurring theme throughout our trip. Anyways, as calming and beautiful as Madrid was, we were more than ready to leave by the fourth day. Our next stop was to Barcelona!

Week One

As of today, I’ve been in Spain for one week. It feels like it’s been one month! I arrived in Madrid last Wednesday, spent three days there, one day in Toledo, and then came to Valencia. It was such an excellent opportunity to see other parts of Spain besides the city I’m studying in. Each city has it’s own diversity and wealth of history.

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[Madrid sunset]

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[Me in front of the Temple of Debod in Madrid]

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[Toledo]

 

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[the courtyard of Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo]

The first week has been a rollercoaster of experiences and sensations. There have been moments where I basically went numb from overexposure to foreign language, smells, sights, behaviors. If I could go back and prepare myself before I left, what would I have said? I’ve been trying to figure out what’s so different about the United States and Spain. Both are Western cultures, with similar levels of technology, similar manners of dressing, modern gender concepts, etc. etc.. The differences are not necessarily the big things, but the many everyday things. For instance, Spain is very conscious of energy and water expenditure. My host mom told me that here, water is like gold. At home, I always pretended to be eco-conscious (I recycle cardboard and don’t litter), but here I realized that it’s much more than that. Now, I turn off the water while shaving my legs, brushing my teeth, turn off the lights when I’m leaving a room even if I’m about to come back to that room. Clothes dryers are rare; everyone hangs their clothes to dry, even if they have a dryer. In addition, even though it’s very warm here, many people don’t have A.C. in their homes, and if they do, they use it for perhaps one hour in the morning and one hour at night. For the most part, open windows function as the HVAC system.  Having the mindset of conservation impacts most movements I make in my home here.

Another difference is that people don’t drink very much water here. It’s actually been one of the hardest adjustments to make. As one of the directors of my program joked, nothing is free in Spain. For example, you don’t get a free water with your meal. Actually, a glass of wine with lunch costs the same as a bottle of water! In theory: awesome. However, my body has had a difficult time adjusting to drinking less water.

There are so many spectacular new things that I’m adjusting to as well: living three miles from a stunning beach on the Mediterranean Sea; being able to walk ANYWHERE; the friendliness of the people here; the way people seem comfortable in their skin (as opposed to how much body shaming there is in the U.S., especially for women); the incredible seafood; the weather; the stunning scenery; the relaxed pace of life. I am so lucky to have this experience.

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[la playa]

The City that never rests and the City that never sleeps

 

I spent a little over a week in Spain, it was an adventurous week to say the least. We spent some time in Barcelona before taking the train to Madrid and I had the opportunity of experiencing the uniqueness of both cities.

Barcelona can be best described as bustling with life! The streets were packed with people from all walks of life, on every corner, was a street performance and there was an endless number of events to engage in.

Out and about in Barcelona
Out and about in Barcelona

On our first outing, we took a walk on the pier and then went on a boat ride. The walk was very refreshing to say the least. Beautiful people going about their activities, beautiful birds perching on the pier and the beautiful scenery of the ocean made for a very refreshing walk. If that is what a day living in Barcelona is like, then no wonder the people are so relaxed.

Madrid was more of a night time city. The streets were not as packed with people during the day as Barcelona. Dinner was eaten by 9 or 10 pm with conversations stretching into the night. Restaurants stayed open till the early am and street performers came out at night to serenade passersby.

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Madrid has beautiful architecture! You can’t help but look up at the magnificent buildings lining the sidewalks. It also has beautiful cultural sights like the Prado Museum.

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The Prado Museum
The Prado Museum

I will definitely love to visit Spain again.