Spain

Arriving in Pamplona

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

By: Nicholas Jaeger, Foster Undergraduate

Almost 23 hours after leaving SeaTac, I arrived in Pamplona, Spain. I wouldn’t say that I had a difficult time when I first got to Pamplona, but it was definitely a little challenging for me. It was recommended that I spend some time looking online for a place to live before leaving for Spain, but that I should wait until I get there to choose my place and roommates. I got to Pamplona about 5 days before the International Student Orientation, so I lived in a hostel for that time, which was a little expensive. By day 3, I was getting bored because I didn’t know anyone at the time, so I just walked the city each day and discovered new places. The first thing that I noticed in Pamplona was that people there really don’t speak any English. I had studied some Spanish, but it had been 2 years since I had any classes, so it was very hard for me to communicate at first.

After that first weekend it was time for orientation, which I really enjoyed. I had a chance to meet lots of people from all over the world. Also, on the second day of orientation, there was an organized trip to the northern beach city of San Sebastian. Looking back on all my travels in Spain, I think that San Sebastian was one of the nicest places I visited. Anyway, on this day trip I got to go in the ocean on a very hot day. There is also a large statue of Jesus overlooking the city, similar to the one in Rio de Janiero. You can hike up to the top of the hill that the statue is on, and this is something that I would definitely recommend doing. After returning from San Sebastian, I finally moved into my apartment, which was very nice because I was tired of living out of my suitcase in the hostel.

Anyway, the first week was somewhat of an adjustment period, but it wasn’t that bad. I had a great time meeting people and seeing new places. From that point on, studying abroad in Pamplona was the best time of my life. The Universidad de Navarra is a great school, although class scheduling is strange/difficult, and I really liked the city of Pamplona. In fact, I am very happy that the Foster exchange program takes place in a smaller city like Pamplona. It is not very touristy, so you are forced to use a lot more Spanish then you would in a bigger city like Barcelona or Madrid.

Fostering the International Connection

Monday, November 21st, 2011

By: Sam Bradley-Kelly, Foster Undergraduate

Robert M. Hutchins once said, “A world community can exist only with world communication, which means something more than extensive short-wave facilities scattered about the globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition, common ideas, and common ideals”.  While I am more than halfway done with my study abroad in Cádiz, Spain, I reflect back on the transformation that has happened to me.  As a student apart of the Certificate of International Studies in Business program, through my experiences in the classroom, weekly CISB lectures, and participation in other GBC experiences such as the IKEA Case Competition and Global Business Case Competition, these tools have helped me evolve my appreciation for the global community.  This being my second international study experience (first in Guadalajara, Mexico), I have really taken the opportunity to do things I would never have dreamed of doing.

Prior to my study abroad, I traveled throughout Italy with the seven days I had given myself.  Through good fortune, I met two sisters from Canada in Rome that were more than kind of enough to let me travel with them.  We stopped in Tavernelle for a night which is a beautiful village nested by locally-owned vineyards and full of lively young children and grandparents enjoying a roast BBQ out in the middle of the streets.  Before departing from my fellow Canadians, we dragged our bodies through the streets of Florence as the sun roasted our fragile bodies.  Water and gelato had never sounded so refreshing.

 After saying my farewells, I took a train to Venice for a day.  After putting my bags in a locker and ready to explore this Atlantis-like city, I ran into a person from Monterrey, Mexico also embarking on their own adventure of Venice.  I politely went up to them, asked if they had any specific plans, they said no, and I invited them to be my buddy for the day. We mustered all throughout this unique city checking out churches and museums that did not cost us even a nickel.  The best part, I had the 2×1 opportunity of talking in Spanish with someone from a different country…in Italy!

Fast forwarding to now where I’m studying in Cádiz, Spain, I have really taken the approach of looking at the glass as half full, rather than half empty.  A few months ago, my director posted on the bulletin board that a team from my university needed a goalie.  Luckily, having packed my goalie gloves and having the desire to play a little fútbol, I gave them a ring.  Ever since, I play soccer every week and even had the chance to go over to some of the players houses to play video games and talk about their lives in Spain.

Also, our director was contacted by a professor teaching English at the university wanting to start up an intercambios or exchange where local students take part in activities with students from our program.  Recently, we had a Halloween celebration where we carved pumpkins, dressed up volunteers in wacky costumes, and shared much laughter and joy.

 

Following this, I decided to travel to Madrid by myself, but I had the fantastic opportunity to meet up with a high school friend who is studying there through another study abroad program.  She was so kind enough to point me in the right direction to see famous landmarks such as the Museo del Prado, the Plaza de Toros, the Rastro Market and the Royal Palace of Madrid.  It was also a pleasure to meet new friends with the same intentions to not only learn and understand a new language, but also has the same kind of motivation to immerse yourself to a new culture.

 

The highlight of all my connections would be with one of my past Spanish teachers who had moved back to Granada, Spain.  During one of our program excursions to Granada, I seized the chance to call him up and plan a get-together as many of those in our program had taken a class or two with this teacher.  We shared our stories of Spain and our future plans while we enjoyed mini-sandwiches with french fries (I have to say they were some of the best french fries I have had in a LONG time).  I enjoyed this the most as the idea of meeting up with friends I have known for a long time (even if it’s my teacher) makes me appreciate the little things in life.  I am especially grateful to have seen my teacher as he has been responsible for connecting me to many of the friends within and outside of this program.

In life you might encounter people that are from a different country, speak a different language, experience a different culture, but at the end of the day, you can always become friends.  I see that through  studying abroad you can really globalize your life by meeting those that are strangers around you.  It takes a long time to grow a friendship, but every friend is a door to a new world.  What I take away from this trip is having friends is one thing, but savoring the opportunities presented to spend time with strangers and friends you might not see in a long time, especially in a foreign country, is priceless.

Pamplona – Settling In

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

By: Patrick Dion, Foster Undergraduate

Hi, my name is Patrick, and I’m a third year studying at the University of Navarra this fall. So far my experience has been great but getting settled in here Pamplona Spain wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. The most difficult thing I experience when getting here was actually registering and selecting classes. Before leaving I had looked at a course guide that listed all of the classes offered in English. When I got to Pamplona though, that list had changed. The school doesn’t really have an official schedule until two weeks after classes have started. It’s quite frustrating trying to nail down a class list when they are constantly changing times, rooms, and even course that are being offered. Many of the business classes they offer in English are the pre-requisite requirements at Foster so if you are planning on coming here look to see if you have space for electives if you are planning to study in English and have done lower level course work.  Once I had an actual schedule though the life has been great.

Pamplona is a much smaller city that Seattle which suits me well. I can walk outside at any time of the night without fear, and it’s small enough to walk everywhere. It really is true that the Spanish like the night life. Kids and senior citizens can be seen at 1am and “going out” for a night means you didn’t come home before 7 am. I’ve been on a few trips so far to Valencia, San Sebastian.  I also visited a little town called Andosilla where I watched them have their own “Running of the Bulls”, although with cows, since bulls are far more dangerous and harder to keep inside the fences. All were great and the bus rides to get there are very reasonable. Taking a bus really is the best way to travel though Spain if you don’t live in one of the larger cities. They are very cheap and easy to get tickets either in advance or just last minute.

Bienvenido a Cádiz…y España!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

By: Sam Bradley-Kelly, Foster Undergraduate

Hola a todos! My name is Samuel Bradley-Kelly.  I am a senior studying Business Administration with a focus in Finance and International Business (CISB Program: Spanish Track), as well as a Foster Honors student.  I decided to complete my study abroad in Cádiz, Spain because of two reasons.  The first was due to the persuasion of my fellow colleagues who did this program last year.  The second was due to the Dutch students I met while studying abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico my first year at UW; they convinced me that I had to go to Europe.

Cádiz is a beautiful town situated on a peninsula in the southeast corner of Spain.  Locally-owned stores line up the allies of Casco Viejo, which is the old part of town that I’m currently living in and where the university is located. At dusk, there is the opportunity to witness photo-perfect sunsets.

As a business major, what excites me the most is that Cádiz is big for their port (along with tourism).  The port is located 5 minutes away from me and is nearly the size of many medium to large-sized ports in the US.  Another beauty, that I have the chance of strolling through every single day, is Plaza Mina which is a block from my place. Late at night, families love to find a bench or an outside restaurant to post up at and enjoy the harmonization of a summer breeze, a cold beer or helado (ice cream), and young children playing fútbol or other various games.

Many of us that are a part of this program have had the chance to also explore other cities in Spain which include Ronda and Sevilla.  Ronda is famously known for the three bridges or Puente Romano (Roman-style bridges) as well as their traditional bullfight that takes place once a year (unfortunately we left a few hours before the event was to take place).

Sevilla is one of the main connecting cities to Madrid (by plane and train) as well as to other European countries as it serves host to an international airport (which I will be using to go to Paris in a few weeks!).  Sevilla is a fantastic get-a-way especially for those that are in search of Flamenco.  I personally want to thank Madison for putting together this great trip, especially picking out a great hostel called Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel.  Also, the evening that I got to personally witness a local Flamenco show, a few of us had the chance to try out tapas near our hostel. Imagine a small plate with grilled ox sirloin skewer with honey garlic sauce.  The best part of this dish is not the meat but using the free bread to dip into the leftover sauce.

If I put my finger on one of the best cultural moments in Spain so far, it would be the night that we were in Sevilla. As we were walking to go watch this Flamenco show, we encountered a group of locals outside of a restaurant playing musical instruments and singing traditional folklore songs.  I included a picture to give visual meaning.

I look forward to continue sharing my experience with everyone over the next three months of my journey! Chao!

Video: Another Tour of the University of Navarra 2011

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

By: Kelsey Ondrk, Foster Undergraduate

Kelsey takes you on a walk through the University of Navarra Campus.

Video: University of Navarra 2011

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

By Rachel Abbott, Foster Undergraduate

 

Join Rachel on this mini tour of the University of Navarra campus.

Traveling with Aladdin

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

By Kelsey Ondrak, UW Foster Undergraduate Business Student

So being in Spain for the past 4 months has been amazing, but I have to say that my favorite trip has been outside of Spain and Europe for that matter. I spent about 3 days in Fez, Morocco with a few people from Boston that are also studying abroad at University of Navarra and had the most amazing cultural experience of my life. We arrived in Fez by plane and seemed slightly confused because I expected this desert area with camels roaming in the background, but instead, I saw lush green fields and cars. The whole idea of going to Morocco was so exciting and yet, totally terrifying all at the same time. I knew that it was a totally different culture than that of Spain and I really didn’t know how to prepare. My time in Fez was short, but truly changed me as a person. I learned about the differences in culture between Europe, America, and Morocco. It was almost inspiring because it made me a more open person. Morocco is definitely somewhere I would travel to again because there is so much I don’t know about it. To anyone interested in going, I would say go when it is safe. That is definitely the only negative part. The world is full of unsafe places, it is just incredibly important to be smart about how a person acts while he or she is there. That is definitely something I have learned while in Europe from my own experiences and my friends’ experiences.

Until next time España

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

By Kelsey Ondrak, UW Foster Undergraduate Business Student

It is unbelievable to think that my five months in Spain are now over. I laughed, cried, and grew up a lot during those months, but the absolute best part of this experience is all the amazing people I have met. Each one is incredibly unique from the other, but for some reason we all end up bonding over the fact that we are miles away from home in a foreign country trying to survive and have a good time while we are doing it. No matter where my new friends have come from, we can all bond over our time spent in Pamplona. Whether we are buying crepes together or hanging out behind the bus station, we will always have those moments.

We all went through phases where we hated Spain and just wanted to get out, but in the end, living in Pamplona has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. If someone had asked me in March when BOTH of my computers broke and I hadn’t backed up my 20 page paper that was due at the end of the week how I was enjoying Spain, I probably would have started screaming about how I just wanted to go home. Looking back, I was a crazy person. Studying abroad, no matter where someone goes or with what program, is a key part of a person’s college education. At no other point in life will I have the opportunity to study in a foreign country for a semester and gain the same experience that I had here in Spain. I know that when I return when I am older, and I will, Pamplona will not be the same, but then again, I won’t either. Until next time España.

Fastest Month of My Life

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

The past month has flown by. In my last post, I said that I would tell you about Queensday in Amsterdam. Well here it is: Queensday was insane. Fourteen hours of sunshine, music, and millions of people dressed in orange. The streets were packed, the sidewalks were lined with food vendors, and families were on their doorsteps selling everything from old video games to jewelry. My friends and I found a spot in the middle main square (Museumplein) by the mainstage, soaking up the much-hyped environment that didn’t disappoint.

But life didn’t slow down from there. The next weekend I was in Munich, where I spent most of the time at their Spring Festival, a carnival located on the Oktoberfest grounds. I was also able to go to Dachau, the first German concentration camp. The day I got back from Germany, I went back to Amsterdam with a friend to do the typical tourist things—the Heineken Experience, Anne Frank House, and Rijksmuseum.

A week and a half after that, five friends and I headed to Italy, seeing Pisa, Florence, and Cinque Terre. The five days spent in Italy have been the highlight of my study abroad experience so far. Florence oozes with culture and seemingly every corner you turn is another beautiful church, monument, or museum. We were also treated to a beautiful firework show on the Arno River and an unforgettable sunset from Piazzala Michaelangelo, which is up on a hill across the river overlooking the city. Florence is an absolutely beautiful city and to be in Cinque Terre the next day was an unbelievable experience. We went on a picturesque (and somewhat dangerous!) seven-hour hike along the coast from the first village to the fifth, culminating in a quick dip in the Mediterranean Sea. The entire trip was almost too good to be true—everything from the views to the pizza, gelato, and panna cotta was heavenly.

That’s the beauty of studying abroad. In no other situation would I even imagine going to Italy for a long weekend. Nothing against Portland, but I probably wouldn’t even go there for a random weekend living in Seattle.

And now I have just completed my final lecture. The quarter has flown by and now I have two weeks to study for exams! …and go to Berlin and Prague.

Hola España!

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Before leaving for Spain, I heard all about the ups and downs of studying abroad and how I might really not want to go. At the time I thought people were crazy! How could I not want to go to Spain for 6 months?! As I boarded my flight in Omaha, I really didn’t want to go. When I arrived in Barcelona, I was feeling better, but then it seemed as if everything was going wrong. Not exactly how I want to remember this experience. I was incredibly jetlagged staying in, what I later found out to be, the most dangerous part of Barcelona. I just wanted to go to Pamplona already and be settled into my apartment and cry.

For the record, I don’t speak any Spanish. I know people find that incredibly difficult to understand, but it is true. As my taxi driver from the train station to my apartment told me, I was better off using my knowledge of French than speaking English to people. Those were not the words that I needed to hear as I was already super freaked out! The one amazing thing about Foster’s programs is that I am meeting TONS of international students from all over the world. This is really an opportunity that not all exchange programs have and I count myself lucky to be able to be able to make all of these new international friends.

Pamplona is a small city in northern Spain, but anyone can get that from looking at a map. It has a gorgeous Old Town full of life and character that is very unique compared to the rest of the city. In the middle of town is the old citadel that they are renovating. Spaniards seem to think that renovating means building something new to look like the old and that bums me out because I feel like things lose a lot of character when they do that. During our Welcoming Week at the university (I totally recommend this to anyone who is studying in Pamplona in the future), we walked through the Old Town, saw the original walls of the city, and walked the San Fermines’ Running of the Bulls route. I wish I was staying until July to see the whole festival, but unfortunately the Spanish government is going to kick me out before when my visa expires!