Universidad de Navarra

Once Upon a Steep Mountain

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

It’s me again! I’ve been in Pamplona for about a month and I still love it. It is definitely a smaller city but I think it is absolutely charming. This last weekend I joined the mountain club at the university to go snowshoeing! I met the bus on Saturday morning at 7am. Bright and early. The trip there took a little under two hours (perfect cat nap). Once there, I realized that the level of difficulty was going to be much higher than I had anticipated. Rather than rolling hills, I was looking at a ski mountain. As in everyone else had come to go DOWN this monster, not the opposite. At least I wasn’t alone.

Everyone strapped on their snow shoes and headed out. I have to point out that it is quite frustrating when you are halfway up an extremely steep slope,  out of breath, sweating, and scared for your life only to look to your right and see people happily riding the chairlift UP. I actually think it is grounds for cruel and unusual punishment. After 3 hours we finally reached the top. The next challenge: manage to get back down. A few minutes into the decline, I was thinking I would rather climb some more. I didn’t have poles which made things a little more difficult. There was a lot of sliding . We stopped for about an hour at a rest point called the “polar club”.  It was really sunny out so we sat outside and ate our lunches before heading back to Pamplona.

I walked in the door of my apartment at around 6pm and fell asleep almost instantly. It was a hard day’s work and completely worth it. I climbed a mountain! I can’t wait for the next adventure.


Getting Started

Friday, April 1st, 2011

I’m here, I made it! Lets take a few steps back and begin with an introduction. My name is Rachel Abbott and I’m starting a semester abroad in Pamplona, Spain. This is where your eyes should light up and think “Hey, isn’t that where the running of the bulls is?” Yes, I am staying in a city known for crazy people who think running with angry bulls is a good idea. But I digress…I chose this program because a) I wanted to study abroad, b) the university offers business classes in English, and c) I have been studying Spanish and want to become fluent. At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to practice a lot of Spanish because people kept telling me that pretty much everyone speaks English in Europe. These people obviously haven’t been to Pamplona. I soon discovered that outside of the university, you are hard pressed to find anyone that speaks English. Total immersion? Check.

I landed in Pamplona about a week before orientation because I hadn’t figured out housing yet. Although I was really nervous to wait until the last minute, I am so glad I did! I stayed in a tiny hostel in the old part of the city called “Casco Antiguo.” Over the next week, I managed to meet 4 other students on exchange that were also looking for housing and I found an apartment! I am so glad that I didn’t arrange for my apartment plans over e-mail (although I tried my hardest…). After looking at about 4 apartments I found the perfect fit: a small apartment about 10 minutes walk from campus with 3 Honduran girls. A few of my other friends who arranged living situations before they arrived are not as happy. One of them showed up only to be told that they had given her room to someone else and another ended up living with two chain smokers that never clean up after themselves. Yikes!

Fast forward to orientation and my first week at the University of Navarra. The international club at the university put together an orientation that lasted 3 days. It was an amazing opportunity to meet all the other international students.

Now I have friends from all over the world! My favorite part of orientation was the day trip to San Sebastian. Although it wasn’t sunny and a Sunday (when everything is closed) it was absolutely beautiful and the food was to die for. I can’t wait to go back when it starts getting sunny! As for the first week of school…it didn’t really happen for international students. At orientation we were handed schedules full of all the classes and given the instructions to sit in on the classes that we were interested in taking.  From that point on, we had about a week and a half to decide and register with the counselor. I didn’t actually become fully engaged with my classes until halfway through the second week. I guess that is normal!

Now that I am settled into my class schedule I can’t wait to travel around. It’s my first time in Europe and I want to take advantage of it! Next weekend I’m off to Barcelona with some of the students I just met. Hasta luego!


New International Friends in Spain!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Jen Yeh in SpainHey there! My name is Jen Yeh and I’m a junior studying accounting and international business. I’m currently in Pamplona, Spain at the University of Navarra for fall semester, and it has been unlike any experience I’ve ever had. Despite the nearly 22 hours of traveling, Alexa and I (the other exchange student from UW) arrived in Spain relatively hassle free. The weather here though at the end of August was humid and unbearably hot for us. So during the first few days of exploring, we nearly melted in the heat. We didn’t realize that the “siestas” between 2pm-4pm everyday, where most the stores are closed, was when everyone hid from the hottest part of the day.

 As for my living situation, I had originally contacted two Spanish girls to live with, but after two weeks of trying to survive in a smoke-filled apartment, I had to move! Thankfully, I was able to find another apartment with two other Spanish girls who are much nicer, and somewhat more hygienic. The meal times… lunch is generally around 2pm and dinner around 9pm. At first that was somewhat difficult to adjust to, being use to eating lunch at 1130am and dinner at 530pm or 6pm! Pamplona itself is a fairly small city, but considered medium-sized in Spain. It’s a bit on the yellow side, but is also surrounded by mountains, and the Pyrenees Mountains are only a two-hour bus ride away. After running nearly all of Pamplona, I was able to find decent running by going towards the nearby towns, Cizur Menor and Cizur Mayor.Spanish SweetsExciting Travels

 It really is incredible the amount of people I’ve met and gotten to know from all over the world. During the first day of orientation, there were people from Australia, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, China, Taiwan, Portugal, Ecuador, Mexico, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Korea, England, France, Brazil, Czech Republic, Canada, Thailand… the list goes on. It was crazy. Some of them had perfect English that I automatically thought they were American. We met at 10am and sat through information sessions for a few hours, had a gigantic pan of paella for lunch (which I couldn’t really eat since it consisted of chicken and a type of seafood that literally looked like snails..let’s just say Spain is not at all vegetarian friendly). Registering for classes was a bit more stressful. We spend the first few days going to classes we think we might be interested in and then we don’t actually solidify a schedule until a couple weeks later. But it works out in the end, even if it is a month later haha

Being in Europe has made me realize how multi-lingual everyone is. Nearly everyone is able to fluently speak two languages, at minimum. When Alexa and I traveled to Bordeaux, France, our waiter spoke English to us, Spanish to the table next to us, and French to another table.  On a side note, the pace of life in Spain is definitely much slower, in contrast to the constant go go go attitude at UW and in the states. Anyhow, until then!  Beach Time!Study Abroad Friends

Spice of Spanish Life!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Mexican Dinner Night with Jen and our International Friends

Mexican Dinner Night with Jen and our International Friends

Hey guys! My name is Alexa Parker and I am a junior studying Business and Spanish at the University of Washington. I am currently in Pamplona, Spain for fall semester studying at the Universidad of Navarra along with Jen Yeh, another student at the Foster School. Having this opportunity to explore Spain and Europe has been amazing and I am sad that my time here is halfway over.

The University of Navarra has an extensive international program that makes meeting people and getting integrated into the University so easy. At first this University seems unorganized with figuring out class schedules and registration but I promise that everything does work out, it just happens a little slower than in the United States. I am living with a Spanish girl and I seriously recommend rooming with native Spanish speakers if you have the chance. With meeting all of the international students, it is very easy to speak English most of the time, but my roommate forces me to practice my Spanish.

Pamplona is in the northeast of Spain right on the French border, which means it is relatively close to the rest of Western Europe. The town itself is pretty and quaint but small, at least compared to Seattle. If you are interested in traveling I would advise you to take some weekend trips, which are easy and not terribly expensive if you can go through the budget airlines. So far I have made it to San Sebastian and Valencia in Spain, as well as London and Bordeaux and have booked trips to Barcelona, Geneva, Berlin, Lisbon and Rome. It’s so crazy to think that two months ago I was sitting in Seattle never having been out of the United States in my life. Hasta luego!

Being Back

Monday, January 4th, 2010

faustinoI am back home and already missing Pamplona. Spanish tortillas, two hour lunches in the cafeteria, and weekend adventures in the countryside are the moments that remain in my mind. The experience was fun. But more than fun, it was valuable.

Leaving my friends in Seattle and meeting students from around the world allowed me to gain a better understanding of human relationships. I met people who gave me an enormous amount of trust, which I reciprocated, despite us having interacted for only moments. These acquaintances hosted me in their homes, more than once giving me a key to the front door.  Being able to contrast those interactions with relationships in my daily life in Seattle has led me to look at those relationships in a new way. Not only has traveling given me new perspectives, it has also inspired me to host travelers in Seattle, which I hope to do soon. Perhaps I can help others explore this city while I do so myself.


Saturday, November 28th, 2009

stockholm night 1Five days in Stockholm has taught me to appreciate the sun. It was fun (and cold and dark and depressing). Vance, a fellow Foster student in Milan, and his German classmate Michael were in Stockholm as well. We saw museums and several typical tourists sites. When we weren’t penny pinching, we powered up on hot dogs and a Thai buffet  (unfortunately, the Swedish Krona is valued even higher than the Euro). It’s amazing to be able to hop on a three-hour flight, and be in a place with a different language, different climate, and different way of living. Perhaps simply being close to the rest of Europe is the best reason to study in any European city.

On the other hand, traveling has its drawbacks. I only have two weeks left in Pamplona. I realized I have hardly been here. I have yet to see a game of Osasuna, the local soccer team, and I have not even been to the town’s market. Pamplona quickly became familiar to me, so I stopped exploring. And I realized, I live the same way in Seattle, never having to gone SIFF, the zoo, or anything else that makes our city unique. So, if living abroad has changed me in anyway, I hope this experience has inspired me to keep exploring.

stockholm group

No Pasa Nada

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

La playa en AlicanteHi everyone! My name is Andrew Swanson, and I am here in Pamplona, Spain for the quarter studying at the University of Navarra along with Sohroosh, Yvonne, and Daraun from the UW. So far my time here in Spain has been a blast. Last weekend I went to Alicante with my roommate because he was from there, and I got to see the Mediterranean for the first time and visit the local hotspots of the city.

School here is going very well. Tomorrow I have to prepare a presentation for my Marketing class, which is a normal Spanish class with normal students, so I am a little bit nervous to talk in front of them… but as we say here “no pasa nada” if I embarrass myself a little bit…I guess that is part of the experience. (haha) I am living with two Spanish guys so I get to practice my Spanish skills both in school and at home, and I am learning a lot. It is amazing to see how your skills improve in such little time being over here. Well, until next time!

Walking to Pamplona

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

caminoTired and sore, but also preparing for midterm exams, I just returned from a two day stretch of the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage that tens of thousands of people from all over the world make throughout the year. There are many paths, but one of the most common starts at Saint Jean Pied de Port, in southern France, and winds it’s way across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This route normally takes more than 30 days to complete on foot. A student from Honduras and another exchange student from Taiwan accompanied me from the small town of Roncesvalles, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, back to Pamplona. The bus ride to Roncesvalles took one and half hours, but the walk through small villages, highways, and hilly farmland took us about sixteen hours spread over two days. We shared sleeping quarters and the path with a diverse group of pilgrims: Aussies who were out for an adventure, a man from Barcelona who had a “compromiso” or a moral obligation to make the pilgrimage, as well as a trio from Valencia who were also taking the Camino a few days at a time.

Universidad de Navarra, Spain

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Hi, my name is Taylor Hoing and I´m from Wenatchee, WA, I will be graduating from the UW Business School with a focus in Finance and Accounting after studying abroad for a semester here in Pamplona, Spain.  Studying at the Universidad de Navarra is much different than being at UW.  Most classes are taught in Spanish, but some business classes and few others are offered in English.  Being a native English speaker like myself and barely studying Spanish in high school, I knew basically no Spanish before I arrived in Spain.  I found it very difficult to get around without knowing Spanish.  Spain is different than most other countries in Europe where a large majority of the population speaks English and doesn’t mind doing so.  Here in Spain, other than students, most people don´t speak English and if they do they speak English most people won´t because they want you to speak Spanish while in Spain.

This made trying to get to the school, finding an apartment to live in, and finding other necessities quite difficult.  Luckily for me, when I arrived here the other student from UW, Jon Geyer, had already been here for a week and was quite fluent in Spanish.  He was able to help me get settled and find the necessities.  I strongly recommend knowing at least a little bit of Spanish if you want to study abroad in Spain or have a strong desire for adventure.

Another large difference here at Universidad de Navarra is trying to get your class schedule figured out.  This can be a very frustrating process.  Here in Spain no information is organized nicely and timely, and there is no MYUW where you can get a class time-schedule.  During orientation you are given a handout that has last year´s schedule for Business classes that are offered in English and Spanish.  Then you are told that the class list this year is only similar to last years, but not all the classes will be the same.  This is only for the business school, if you want to take classes in other departments you have to go to that department and talk to a bunch of different people to try and find someone who knows what classes are being offered.  Most international students are freaked out trying to get their schedules in order before classes begin, but the teachers know how the process works.

So basically it’s not a big deal if you attend classes the first week and sometimes even the second week, this is the time to figure when classes are offered and if you want to take the class.  Much different than at UW.  Business classes seem to be taught similarly to UW, except that there are less group projects here and the final exam is a higher percentage of your grade.

It may seem that Spain is a difficult place for Americans, but it´s also a great chance to enjoy a vastly different lifestyle.  It can be annoying and even frustrating at times, but between all the great friends that you meet and all the new experiences that you have it makes it all worthwhile.  I highly recommend living with other Spanish students while you are in Spain.  I live with three other Spanish guys and the friendships and camaraderie that we’ve already had has been great.  Also it can be easy to miss out on the Spanish culture sometimes because you are hanging out with many international students all the time and not so many Spanish students.  When you live with Spanish guys they make sure you don´t forget.  Spain is great, and I didn’t even tell you about all the great traveling I’ve done throughout Europe and Spain itself.  Ciao.

P.S. Make sure you have an opinion on the most recent political issue in America when you come to Spain.  All I hear over here is ¨Obama vs. McCain¨ and ¨what do you think about the Economic crisis.¨

Living in Pamplona

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

blogger.jpgHi, my name is Jon Geyer, and I am a senior in the University of Washington Business School focusing in Marketing and International Business.  I am currently on exchange in Pamplona, Spain.  Yes, it is where they do the running of the bulls.  However, besides this festival the city is fairly small and is dominated by many students in one part of the city and other inhabitants in the old part of the city.  The University resides on one part of the city, the new part, and many students live in the surrounding area.  The Casco Viejo, the old part town has a very typical European look to it and is where the encierro (running of the bulls) occurs.  This part of town has many different small bars and pubs and there is a higher concentration of Basque natives as well.  Instead of tapas, in other parts of Spain, here they serve Pintxos, which are more or less small portions of the local cuisine.  They are typically considered expensive as Pamplona is one of the most expensive cities in Spain.

The city is a very good size but after a while it can feel a bit too small.  The international community of students is very large and very well organized, as far as parties :)  We have special discounts on certain days in bars and discotecas, for example, on Wednesday we have Crazy Wednesday and we get into the best club in the world, Marengo, for free.  The club actually isn’t that great, but its fun because we have a great group of friends.  There are these three Portuguese guys who enjoy to party, and you can count on them always to be at the nearest bar or discoteca.  Ricardo thinks he can dance… but he can’t.  In all seriousness the international community is a lot of fun here.  So despite the fact that there are only 2 of us from UW, I have many friends already.

The University is fairly new (only around 50 years old) but is considered one of the better business schools in Spain.  It is a private university and run by Opus Dei, a very religious sect of the Catholic Church.  This is one thing that I had to get used to.  You cannot wear basketball shorts or any other type of sporting attire.  Flip flops are prohibited and you need a security card to get into every single building on campus.  Once accustomed, it is not a big deal, but a few times I was trying to print stuff and I forgot I was wearing athletic shorts, and I was not let in.

As far as living situation, I am very happy.  I live with three Spaniards, two from Galicia (the northwest part of Spain) and one from Catalonia (near Barcelona).  We eat our meals together, cook together, clean together and have a good time.  I seriously recommend staying with students in Spain because you get a very good mix of learning the language, the slang, the food, and the culture.  Here in Pamplona, (more…)