May Term in Spain

Ryan Tomlin
May Term Abroad
Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Since the last time I blogged, I have made a lot of progress with the language. I speak as frequently as possible with my host brother and mother because I learn the most from them. I have gotten to the point where I don’t have to think about what I am going to say before I speak. I find myself responding to them much quicker, without a delay, because I have been exposed to the language for so long. It feels much more natural than in the beginning. Before the trip, I had studied Spanish for only two semesters and I am very proud of how much I have learned.
When I am not speaking Spanish or doing homework, I thoroughly enjoy my free-time in Spain. Typically, I will go down to the Plaza and listen to music or hang out at bars with my friends. There is a small bar called La Panadería that plays rock music and we have made friends with the bartender. In my free-time, I watch a lot of movies with my host brother. We also often watch the World Cup soccer games, especially when Spain is playing.
During my time in Spain, I have also done a lot of traveling to other locations. I have gone to Madrid multiple times, Segovia and Toledo for one day, and Valencia for a weekend. Traveling in Spain has been very different for me. Since I do not have a car, I have taken a train to every location. On the other hand, this is a typical way to travel in Spain because many people do not drive. Madrid was beautiful. We took a tour through the city with one of my professors from the University in Alcala. Segovia was very exciting because they have an aqueduct that runs throughout the city. Valencia is on the coast and my roommate and I went to the beach for a day. We also went to the Museum of Art and Science in Valencia, which I found very interesting because I am a science major at Hampden-Sydney. Overall, I recommend that anyone who studies abroad should try and travel to other locations so that they can see as much as possible.
As my time in Spain is ending in just three short days, I am doing my best to both get my work done and spend time with my host family. In closing, the trip has been very beneficial for me. I have learned a lot about the Spanish culture. Moreover, by traveling out of the country for the first time, I now see how different other countries can be. I believe that this will be an experience I talk about for a long time after college. With the liberal arts mentality of Hampden-Sydney in mind, I highly recommend any student study abroad if the opportunity presents itself.

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