Hola from Spain!
Hello from Spain! My name is Elizabeth Whiteman and I am a junior accounting major studying abroad in Granada, Spain. My program started January 7th and ends May 20th. Though I am not studying business while I am here I will be able to finish my Spanish minor. I just finished up my month long Spanish intensive course and have recently begun my regular class schedule. These classes include translation, history of Spain, Grammar, history of Spanish cinema and composition. When I have class it lasts from 10am until 8pm but the plus is that its only Monday and Wednesday leaving lots of time to travel.
Granada is such a beautiful city, I feel so lucky to be here. It is at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains making for a great backdrop and only a 45-minute bus ride from the beach. There is a palace here called the Alhambra, it is the most visited tourist site in all of Spain; its architecture is indescribable. There is so much history surrounding the city and I love learning about a place I get to explore everyday. Just walking to school can be an adventure. I really like the fact that not many people speak English here; it has really helped me improve my Spanish.
Two weeks ago I went to Rome to visit some friends in UW’s CHID program there. Fortunately, I found a cheap flight because getting to Rome from here can be really expensive. It felt great to see some familiar faces. I instantly noticed a huge contrast between Granada and Rome. Things have a much more romantic feel to them in Rome. Every building was so aesthetically pleasing. I loved how there are ancient buildings all over the city and you never know where you’ll just happen to run into ruins. The city is so big that with out the help of my friends I would have been completely lost. If you plan to visit on your own I recommend researching ahead to get a hang of the city. We went and saw the main sights such as the Colosseum, St. Peter’s in the Vatican (largest church in the world), the Trevi Fountain (beautifully lit up at night) and of course the Pantheon. My friends’ roommate cooked a great meal for us on Thursday when I got in. It was so nice to catch up with old friends and meet new people over such a delicious, relaxed meal. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my friends because I went at the last minute and most of the inexpensive hostels were booked. Though the city was beautiful I am glad to have chosen Granada if for nothing else but cost. In Granada, I can get a go out for a great dinner for the equivalent of $6 but in Rome that same meal would be double the price.
This past weekend I went to Barcelona to meet up with my friends from home one last time before most of them head back to the states for spring quarter. I got in pretty early and toured the gothic quarter for the first day, the architecture was stunning. I could have spent three days exploring all the nooks and crannies of that neighborhood. For some reason, because I knew that Barcelona was not as old at other European cities, I was expecting to see a lot more skyscrapers and less historical buildings but this was a good surprise. My favorite buildings in the city were those designed by Gaudí. I don’t think I have ever seen such interesting architecture, hopefully when I go back to Barcelona with my family in April I will have time to go inside one of the buildings. On my final full day we went up to Montserrat, a monastery built into the side of an enormous cliff. The train ride was a little long but well worth it once we arrived. It felt so good to get out of the hustling city and get a breath of fresh air. I forgot how lucky we are in Seattle to have so much greenery. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I was surrounded by grass and trees again. I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of the city when I go back.
It has been a great experience so far; I am really looking forward to seeing more of Europe and learning more about the Spanish culture.
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