Just when I thought I knew how to work the Metro and find my way home without getting lost in a Zara (oh the problems of living in the barrio Salamanca!), classes started. I know, I know, part of the study abroad experience, is, well studying and becoming a real person in a foreign country—not just prancing around a beautiful city buying and eating everything. I’m now balancing prancing with four classes (one at UAM and three with the program center), a práctica (internship), the practically required traveling associated with studying in Europa, and our program excursions around Spain. I’m not complaining 🙂 And neither is Bronwen Raff, another Alcalamiga who echoes my sentiment and does our last excursion to the beautiful city of Segovia justice, as opposed to some of us who were freezing and struggled to enjoy the excursion, in her latest post on her personal blog:
Segovia is an ancient Roman city that was constructed almost 2,000 years ago. The main attractions there are the Aqueduct, the Castle, and the Cathedral. The Aqueduct is a huge towering boulder structure that was used by the Romans 2000 years ago to get water from the mountain rivers 14k into the city for use by the people. The structure is huge and they used absolutely no cement, the architects only used pressure and gravity to keep the stones in tact. (I know this description is a bit confusing, so see attached picture). Next – the Castle. This humongous castle was the inspiration for the Disney logo when Disney himself encountered it lots and lots of years ago (not quite 2000 years ago, but close). The castle was where Kind Ferdinand and Queen Isabel lived back in the good old 15th century. They casually had a moat around their home, priceless looking stained glass windows above their beds, and a tower with a view of the whole city of Segovia. This tower had a whopping 152 steps and looked out on the Cathedral to which I will speak about next. (For a view of this too, see attached picts). The Cathedral is next. This cathedral has the most fascinating and ornate outside architecture and is in the middle of the main plaza. I can’t even do this one justice so again – gonna have to check out the pictures. As for Segovia and the town itself – well, it was absolutely freezing, and snowing. In Spain in general right now, there are snow storms and freezing temperatures all over, but we sure did pick a cold weekend to go there. It was a wonderful place to walk around because it is only a town about as big as Alcalá (200,000 people) and the view from the Aqueduct at night was simply splendid. I got out more than most to walk around because I figured – when in Spain – walk around as much as you can. And so I did.
Anyway- that is the most of my updates for the week. This week commences my real schedule and on the docket I have an internship that I have and will be volunteering with the Office of International Relations here at the University of Alcalá. This means that a few hours a week I will be translating documents, answering students questions, and fixing bad English that some people write and want to send out to other places. I can’t wait to start this and I think I will really be able to practice my “speaking Spanish capacities” here. I will also be teaching an English class to students at the University on Wednesdays. Another American girl Kayla and I are going to teach a conversation class in English and will make friends who don’t think we only speak really bad Spanish. Hopefully they will see that I can indeed speak like a normal human being – just not in their language. Finally, I have an interview Friday with someone from Red Cross Spain and I will be starting some type of volunteer work in the office. I want to help on the call line and talk to families or children in crisis. This is my plan, but I have no idea what the boss of the place will have in store for me. Will find out soon but cross your fingers for me in this interview! (Bronwen Raff, Tufts in Alcalá, 2012).
Buena suerte, Bronwen! We know you’ll be great!
Veronica Richter, Tufts in Madrid, 2012.