Student Post: Experiencing Spanish culture during Study Abroad
"What's amazing in Europe is that you can travel a short distance and be engulfed in a completely different culture."
|Photos from Lisa Mitchell's Study Abroad experience in Spain.|
Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by B-Section senior Lisa Mitchell, who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and works as a co-op at UTC Aero Systems LK in Connecticut. She is currently sharing her experiences in study abroad. If you’d like to write a guest blog post, e-mail jmurphy(at)kettering(dot)edu
By Lisa Mitchell
We arrived back from Prague on Monday morning, did laundry on Tuesday, hung dry our clothes, went to class on Wednesday morning, then packed after class and caught a train to Barcelona, Spain!
We are so busy here, it's hard to imagine a time when it will slow down. Luckily, the reservations we had for the night train was a couchette instead of recliners, so it was infinitely more comfortable than the trip to Prague. This weekend we had four days in Barcelona which we gave the name, "Barcelona Beach Bum Weekend." On Thursday, we arrived in the early afternoon and after dropping our stuff at the hostel and freshening up, we hit the city.
Previously from this author:
What's amazing in Europe is that you can travel a short distance and be engulfed in a completely different culture. It gets confusing with languages because I'm fluent only in English, but I know bits and pieces of German and Spanish, so when I'm put in a stressed situation, my sentences come out with words from each language (which really doesn't help any situation, at all). On Thursday, we hit all the major aspects of the city that we wanted to see so we could spend the rest of the weekend relaxing on the beach. We got the four-day transportation pass so we really took advantage of it throughout the weekend. Our first stop was lunch (as always), and once again we got a screaming deal at a restaurant (three course meal for under 10 Euro, this is a great find in Spain). After that we climbed to the top of a hill that overlooked the city and got a view that was tremendous. Then we visited the buildings designed by Gaudì (it resembles something you would see in a Dr. Seuss book).
The following day, we were planning on going to the beach, but it was pouring rain, so instead we just wandered the city more and visited The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (aka The Barcelona Cathedral), which is currently in the process of being built. It was unique to other cathedrals we have seen because it is significantly more modern than most other cathedrals in Europe.
Around 6 p.m., the sun started to peak out so we went to the beach and got to spend an hour or two enjoying the time on the beach with a frisbee and a soccer ball -- a little blessing on the rainy day. After we hung-out on the beach, we got dinner, then Savannah, Abhishek and I got tickets to the Spanish Opera. It was quite the experience! It was a 5-hour performance, and surprisingly enough, was based on a German play called, Die Walküre. So the entire performance was in German and was conveniently translated to Spanish. It was an AMAZING show, despite the fact that we had absolutely no idea what was going on. During each intermission (complimented with Hors d'oeuvres and champagne) we were all making estimates as to what was happening and how the characters were related to each other (which was extremely confusing). With each new act our guesses were proved wrong because, for example, once we were convinced two characters were brother and sister they would kiss and our guesses were back to square one.
Once we got home we Googled the play in English, and as it turns out it's a traditional German play based on Norse mythology and is actually largely about incest! The story line was absolutely convoluted so it's no wonder we couldn't follow the play perfectly. Despite the language barrier, the orchestra and the opera itself was amazing. Luckily, you don't have to understand the language to appreciate the beauty of it.