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Goodbye Spain!

Currently, I’m sitting in a very uncomfortable chair in the Madrid Airport waiting for my plane to arrive. I’m going home ya’ll! As amazing as this trip to Spain was, I am so ready to be home and eat chipotle in air conditioning. I feel like living in a different country should have been tougher than it was, but I think I had such a good support group in both my host family and friends that I never really got too homesick. And thanks to Facetime I could talk to my boyfriend whenever I wanted! As far as my Spanish goes, I would say that I definitely understand better and I can get by in conversations with a few key phrases. Personally, I think I learned more at my host family’s house and walking around Granada than I did at school. In class everything is structured and organized, but when you’re having dinner with your family there is no outline or slideshow. You jump around and make jokes. The dinner table was where my Spanish was tested the most.

I finished off my month and a half stay with a trip to Valencia with some friends. We took the overnight bus on the last day of classes and stayed for the past 4 days. There, we visited 2 vineyards, went to the beach, and walked around downtown. It was a perfect way to end the summer!

I would 100% recommend that everyone study abroad in college. Is there any other time in your future that you think you could live in a foreign country for a semester long? Eventually, we’re all going to get “real” jobs and only be able to travel for a week or 2 at a time. So pick up a few extra shifts, cut back on the Starbucks, make it work, and take the leap. No one ever regrets the adventures they take. I sure don’t.


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.

My First Week in Spain

During the first week of my study abroad trip in Spain we traveled! This was an amazing way to get to see so much of the country that I wouldn´t have been able to see otherwise.

On the first day, we flew into Madrid and landed in the morning. This was such an overwhelming feeling, getting off the plane into a giant airport where everything is in Spanish. Once we got to the hotel, we met our new friends and visited an art museum called El Prado. For dinner we ate at a restaurant that was in a supermarket. In the first two floors it was a supermarket with different shops for each type of food. As you got higher up there became actual restuarants. The food was AMAZING!

The next day, Tuesday, we traveled to Segovia. Segovia was my favorite city because it is very old and has a lot of history. In Segovia, we saw the Roman aqueduct where the Romans brought water from the mountains to the city. Also in Segovia, we saw the Real Alcazar, which was a castle by the royal families. The Real Alcazar had a moat for protection.

Also on Tuesday, we traveled to La Granja for lunch and see the gardens at the Royal Palace. The gardens were absolutely breathtaking and the fountains were gigantic!

On Thursday, the group can on a tour of Seville and we saw all the consulates of other countries like the United States, Mexico and Argentina. In the end, the guide showed us the Spanish consulate. The consolidate of Spain was very beautiful and there  were benches decorated by each province in Spain.


Emma Cleaveland is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Communications. Emma is spending the summer term abroad on 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.

Helado and Heat Strokes

Last week we toured the Alhambra, a palace and fortress located in Granada, Spain. Originally it served as a small fortress until the Moors renovated and rebuilt it in the 13th century. But after the Christian Reconquista of 1492 it became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. The same Ferdinand and Isabella that endorsed Christopher Columbus! History is so cool.

In the gardens of the Alhambra

So our toured started at 3 in the afternoon, which is not only siesta time but also the hottest part of the day. The day we went, it was a whopping 109° Fahrenheit. I knew it was going to be a hot day when I saw paramedics casually walking around with their gear and water jugs. Nevertheless, walking around a fortress that has stood since the 9th century was pretty amazing. I felt like I was walking in a set of Game of Thrones. 

A ceiling in one of the bedrooms
Spain is full of cute doors to take pictures in front of…

The tour took around 4 hours and by the end of it we were all exhausted, but it was worth climbing up all those stairs for the amazing view of the city we’ve all been living in for the past month. Also it was probably due to the dehydration, but I have never tasted helado (ice cream) so amazing.

From the top of the fortress
I couldn’t ask for better program leaders!

Thankfully, no one from our group had a heat stroke. But, if you do ever find yourself visiting the Alhambra make sure you bring a fan! I would also recommend going on a guided tour so you get the most out of your visit. I don’t think I would have appreciated the architecture, and I learned so many quirky facts about the kings and queens that resided there. I also need to brag about how amazing my program leaders are. Lorena and Louis have made this summer abroad so fun and I don’t know what any of us would do without them. If you’re thinking about studying abroad with UMKC, you definitely need to go with these two.

Follow me for more Study Abroad adventures!

 

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.

España vs. Me: Round Two

The history and culture shock of Spain continued down its path with me as I began to more fully comprehend the  amazing accomplishments that took place in the last five thousand years or more.

La Granja Royal Palace was an interesting find on our tour throughout Spain. Just outside the small town of San Ildefonso, the summer palace and its gardens were a wonderful delight that I did not think any king would ever want. The 1,500 acres of gardens, trees, groves, and amazing flowerbeds and fountains were stunning.

A flower bed of the La Granja gardens.
A view looking down at one of the main fountains at the garden.

The most incredible thing was how the king had Red Woods shipped from the United States to Spain just so he could have them in the garden. The fountains and architectures were modeled after Versailles, and I found it interesting how the palace now belongs to the people and that they are allowed to visit inside of it. The garden continues to grow all of the original species of plants that were originally planted, and the palace itself contains all of the original furniture and architecture from its original conception as well.

The Mezquita that we had the welcomed pleasure of seeing is the ultimate symbol of how the three cultures of Spain, Jewish, Moor, and Christian, came together and completely redeveloped a new mosque-cathedral as new kings ruled over the area.

View of one of the old entrances to the Mezquita of Córdoba, Spain.

Though the mezquita is mainly a representation of the Moor and Christian cultures, I believe that the history behind it was influenced by all three cultures, even if it wasn’t at the same time. Each chapel represents a different part of the religions and I found most fascinating the pillars that were inscribed with different meanings.

A neighborhood of the “Village of Three Cultures”.

Frigiliana is a town that takes the time to celebrate the Festival de las Tres Culturas (Festival of Three Cultures) at the end of August. This festival commemorates the coexistence between the Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions, as well as the regions historic confluence.

One of the most pure colored houses of the “White Village”.

This special town, also known as the “White Village” inspired me to find the time during this study abroad trip and visit it again. Though I did not like all of the stairs that we had to climb, this white village full of artists and flowers was the push I needed to continue my journey through the Spanish culture and the Spanish Language.


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.

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.

Adventure Awaits

Hello all! My name is Megan Schwindler and I’ll be studying abroad in Granada, Spain this summer.  I leave tomorrow morning and have been spending the past two days doing some last minute shopping and packing for the trip.

My (kind of) organized suitcase

My suitcase is pretty organized for someone as messy as myself, but I’m still worried I forgot something! I just got back from a week-long vacation in Florida two days ago so this weekend has been quite chaotic. Essentially, I just dumped all the clothes I took to Florida into the washing machine and threw carefully packed them into my suitcase. All in all, it wasn’t too terrible but two days didn’t feel like enough time.

This was taken on my last day in Florida

My toughest decision was what books I wanted to bring (I’m a nerd, I know). I decided that four books would be the limit. I’m currently reading the last book of Game of Thrones so of course I’ll be bringing that. And then I decided I ought to bring milk and honey by Rupi Kaur because well, it’s amazing. I’m also bringing the first Lord of the Rings because I’ve never read it or watched the movie (I know, I’m so weird) but I heard it’s somewhat adventurous and I’m hoping it will motivate me to explore.  And finally, I’m bringing Women Who Run with the Wolves. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend doing so. It was the book that motivated me to study abroad in the first place!

An excerpt from “Women Who Run with the Wolves”

As far as packing tips go, I would say to pack what you’ll wear. I constantly go on trips and pack cute dresses or wedges that I think I’ll wear but usually don’t even make it out of the suitcase. Birks are an essential item in my suitcase, I wear them with leggings, cute dresses, and even to the beach. I’m also bringing a pair of tennis shoes and a cheap pair of sandals just in case! A lot of my friends and family have asked if I’m nervous or freaking out yet. Surprisingly, I’m not. For me, this is the easy part. I enjoy the packing, planning, organizing, and shopping that a trip as long as this one entails. But once I step off that 14-hour flight in Madrid, I’m probably going to freak out. But who knows?

That’s all I have for now, follow my adventure on wordpress and instagram. And to everyone who is studying abroad this summer, good luck!


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.