Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu1CE0qJwrY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
As the 8 week mark draws nearer and nearer reality is beginning to set in that I am going to have to go back home… eventually that is. It has been a wild ride to say the least but I plan to make the most of my last two weeks here in Europe. I have a trip planned to Morocco followed by a weekend in Madrid to finish it all off.
To say that this trip has been the experience of lifetime is an understatement, Spain has exceed all expectations and then some. I have accomplished things I never thought that I would have the chance to do such as running with the bulls during the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona to relaxing in the Ibiza sun on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.
I do miss my friends and family back in the states but I really do not know if I am ready for the reverse culture shock thats about to hit me as soon as I get home.
Me from the top of Tres Cruces in Park Guell
Me, Gaspar our boss at SeCod Financial and Cynthia my coworker.
I know I’m pushing the boundary of when I can get this post submitted, but really, isn’t that the Spanish way? Work culture here is slightly (very) different from in the US. In Spain, there isn’t as much of a rush to get things done, and workers can take their time. As much of their time as they need. In the US, there are very strict due dates and deadlines…not so much here. Projects for work are, oftentimes, finished when they are finished. If something isn’t done right at the deadline, workers can frequently spend another day or so to finish their assignment. Also, there are two hour lunch breaks that start at 2 pm. Spain likes to lunch.
I have absolutely loved living and working in Barcelona all summer. I enjoy exploring the city and fully absorbing the culture as an “almost local.” That said, one of my favorite aspects of this summer is the ease of access to European travel. Once in Europe, it’s very easy to travel internationally throughout the continent, and if you look on the right sites at the right time it can be pretty inexpensive!
As a group, the Dreamers, traveled by bus to the South of France to see Carcassone-a famous medieval town. We also got to see the Dali museum on our way back to Barcelona. During one of the free weekends, my roommate and I traveled to Milan! As much as I love Barcelona, that was one of my favorite weekends of the whole trip! We enjoyed sight-seeing (by bike!), eating authentic Italian food, and shopping in one of the fashion capitals of the world! It was such a gorgeous city filled with such beautiful and well-dressed people! This coming weekend, my roommate and I will be traveling to a small-town in Germany! We have a packed itinerary with some lake time and many castle visits. We’ll even get to see part of Austria and Switzerland! I am really enjoying these free weekends, because I feel like I am able to see such different parts of Europe and really get an idea of the variety of countries and cultures that exist here. I can’t believe this weekend will be our last one on this side of the world! Time is definitely going by too quickly!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Pamplona, Spain for the opening ceremony of the San Fermin Festival. We were able to make it into Pamplona for the opening festival on Friday, which was a great experience. The streets were packed with tourists and locals all wearing their white robes accompanied with a red sash. Everyone in the streets had sangria and champagne to kick off the start of the festival. Towards the end of the day everyone’s white robes where died red from the sangria fights that took place to mark the end of the ceremony.
The running of the bulls was the probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was a great feeling making it into the arena, surrounded by thousands of people in the stands. For the opening run they released 6 small bulls with corks on their horns to mark the end of the run for that day. I thought the culture and energy from both the locals and tourists was astonishing.
Today marks 45 days abroad and I can honestly say it has been the most amazing days of my life. Living in Spain has given everyone the opportunity to travel to many places. You can go by train, plane, boat, and bus moving from one country to the next. It is convenient and the flights are inexpensive. As a group, we have traveled to South of France, Carcassonne, and Costa Brava. Apart from the Dream Careers group, I have also traveled to Venice, Italy.
To this point, Venice has been one of the most mesmerizing cities I have ever been to. Venice is a place where almost everything is interesting, worth looking and buying. With only three days in Venice, I believe we discovered the best of the city. We visited St. Mark’s Basilica and enjoyed a boat trip to the Venetian islands of Murano, Lido and Burano. To complete our whole Venice experience, we had a chance to ride in a gondola, even if it was the most tourist thing to do, it was worth every euro. Being able to travel to all these amazing places has definitely increased my knowledge and perspective about the world.
By Jeff Hurley
Last week a group of us went to Pamplona, Spain to celebrate the annual San Fermin Running of the Bulls Festival! Our adventure started on friday when we got to our campsite. Since this festival is so popular its impossible to find a place to stay in the city. So we decided to stay at a campsite next to San Sebastian beach and it was absolutely beautiful. I shared a tent with a fellow Eller student, Robert Roberto while the rest of the group stayed in a teepee. That night we hung out on the beach and the campsite meeting people from all over the world visiting to run with the bulls. The next morning we woke up around 10am to head into the city to celebrate the opening ceremony. Here a picture of the view from my tent!
We arrived in Pamplona around 11am. Our next mission was to make our way to the center of the city to see the mayor announce the start of the festival! All the streets were completely packed with people all wearing the same traditional outfit. It consisted of a white shirt, white pants, a red scarf, and a red belt. A group of us made it to the center where we started the celebration!
Sunday was the first day that the bulls ran. We woke up at 4am to make sure we got to the right spot to run! I waited about an hour in the crowd of runners until I heard the first gun which meant the bulls were set free! Immediately everyone start sprinting as fast as they could. I had about a 600m run to the finish line which was actually the entrance to the arena. After the craziest moment of my life I made it to the arena. There were thousands of people inside and everyone was cheering and celebrating! I never felt such an intense adrenaline rush before. This is a once in a life time experience and tradition that I will never forget! Here is a picture of our group after we made it into the arena!
Living in Barcelona has been such an amazing journey, and there are so many more areas of Spain and Europe that I want to explore. When you visit somewhere for a week or so, you think you’ve grasped what the city is about, however, it’s not until you are fully submersed in their lifestyle that you really understand how everything works. The people here are so proud to be Catalonian’s, but you wouldn’t be able to understand that unless you worked with them or talked to them on your daily commutes on the train.
I feel almost like a local here, I have gotten accustomed to living in Barcelona, doing and saying what the people here do. It took a while to get used to the customs here, but now i’m sure i’ll be going to go back to U of A speaking spanish at restaurants, asking for euros instead of dollars, expect tapas and sangria everywhere I go and will always be saying vale vale.
by Robert Roberto
Buen dia, ciao, hello everyone! With less than two weeks until my departure from the Eastern hemisphere I have really begun to reflect on my experience so far. Living in a foreign country for two months has definitely been quite the adventure. The fantasy life that I have lived this summer while in Barcelona will be something I will always remember and share with the awesome people in my program. It really feels as if I just arrived last weekend, and in the blink of an eye six weeks have already gone by (when they say, ¨Time flies by when you´re having fun¨ it’s sadly true!).
Since arriving in Spain, I had the realization that the vast majority of food I would be consuming will be different than what I am used to, back home. The plethora of jamon and tapas really does not allow for much variety in meals. Although, all of the restaurants I have been to have had excellent food it is hard to live off of the same food day after day. It wouldn’t be as bad if Barcelona had cheaper options for sushi and a selection of red meats! If you will be traveling to Barcelona and need some suggestions of places to eat make sure to check out: Ciudad Condal and/or La Cerveseria Catalana (AMZAING tapas), 7 Puertos (Paella), Da Greco (Italian food), Bo De B (Sandwiches and platters), Wok to Walk (Fast Chinese Food, EVERYONES favorite), anywhere at La Boqueria (an open market), MILK (American breakfast), and so many more! I personally cannot wait to get home and have the largest steak & sushi dinner ever.
P.S. If you ever are in Rome you MUST go to Ristorante Alfredo alla Scrofa for the BEST Alfredo of your life!
Stay tuned in two weeks I’ll make sure to go over my entire 8 weeks abroad!
By Ashly Blackwell
The people in Spain, in my opinion, are amazing. I am never afraid to ask questions or spark up a conversation with anyone. They are all so genuine and really do want to help you. When I am out and about I find that many people want to learn about America just as much as I want to learn about their country. Not only Spaniards, but people from all over the world are constantly in Barcelona. This gives me the chance to meet and learn about a diverse range of cultures. My favorite part of being here has much to do with the people I meet and the conversations I create with people.
The food, on the other hand, isn’t as exciting. Why some of it isn’t BAD, I wouldn’t say it’s my Mom’s cookin’. That is one thing I really took for granted being home- how good our food is in the states. The first thing I do when I get home is ask for a hearty, home cooked meal!
I have attached the link to a video I made about the Castellers in Barcelona, more commonly known as the human towers. We were able to see them make a few different ‘pyramids’ that were ‘built’ in different ways. Sometimes, the base would be constructed and then people would climb up higher, level by level. Other times, the smallest members would go up first and make their layer, and then the levels would be added from the bottom.
This was a great show to experience first-hand, since this is something unique to the area. They put on a great show, playing music during the tower building and selling souvenirs to support their clubs. Click on the link to see the video and feel like you were there too.