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España vs. Me: Round One

España has displaced my mind from my life and has put it inside of my history books and National Geographic Magazine issues that I praised as a child.

Throughout my first week in Spain, I was shown that no matter how ‘small’ she may be compared to the states or other European countries, the people and history of the Iberia Peninsula have stolen the empty spaces of my mind and have replaced them with all of her glories and wonders. Madrid became the city of maze-like buildings that trapped me, only to show me the history inside of each maze turn. Interestingly, the street names in Spain are placed on the sides of buildings, so I found myself looking up a lot and missing the sights of the streets below.

A memorial text for Cervantes, reading: To Don Miguel de Cervantes, on the fourth century of the publication of the first part of Don Quijote.
One of my favorite streets to get lost on: Calle de Cervantes

The first night I spent in Madrid left me puzzled and restless because I knew that I could not possibly learn a culture by its language or history alone.

As the night went on, my mind began to rest and the morning of our trip to Segovia awakened the adventure I did not think I could have on a study abroad trip.

One of my life-altering fears shattered: Heights

It is amazing to have encountered one of the most magnificent structures from the Roman times that is still standing and still being used today. I have spent years in history classes, reading and studying the use the Roman Aqueducts, but I have never imagined how intense their presence may be until I saw them for myself.

My first impression of the Aqueduct of Segovia: How is history alive in front of me?

Since they were built without any mortar, the thirty-six semi-circular arches blew me away. Ironically, I was almost afraid to climb the stairs and see the view from the top of them, but thankfully the history behind the entire structure gave me the confidence to take the climb.

My history book selfie.

The Plaza de España is one of my favorite outdoor descriptions of history that I have experienced thus far on our trip (besides the Mezquita and the beautiful town of Frigiliana). The plaza is in the Parque de Maria Luisa in Seville, Spain. It was built for an exposition is 1929 and is an example of Regionalism Architecture, meaning that it mixes elements of the Renaissance and the Moorish revival styles of Spanish architecture. Essentially, it’s a Neo- Mudéjar style.

View of the Plaza from the far right.

The half-circle complex contains four bridges representing the four kingdoms of Spain. Inside the semi-circle are tiled alcoves that represent each province of Spain. Out of the forty-eight alcoves, everyone has a relevant tableau and map that gives a representation of the history of that said province. This in an amazing and beautiful piece of tiled architecture because it not only gives a historical aspect of each province and the four kingdoms, but of how the culture and people reflect on each other.


Grace Englehart is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Creative Writing and Spanish. Grace is spending the summer term abroad with the faculty-led 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.