Halfway there

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Hello everybody, I’m both proud and saddened to announce that this week has marked the halfway point for my study abroad trip at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. I’ve already spent a month in Spain—so far, I’ve visited Avila, Segovia, Seville, and Salamanca. This week, I started working on a lab report for my research project, traveled to Avila and Salamanca, and explored tons of new restaurants and landmarks.

My week kicked off with intensive studying; between my final exams and presentations for my spanish class, I certainly had my hands full. I had my head buried in spanish language review sheets, so I didn’t get to go out much. On the rare occasions I was able to go out, I explored much of Madrid’s downtown shops and neighborhoods around me. The restaurants I tried this week in Spain involved Thai, Colombian, Japanese, and traditional Spanish food—the culinary diversity is definitely a benefit of living in a large city with a big international population. This week, we also celebrated one of our study abroad students’ birthday by surprising him at his apartment complex and eating pizza late at night. Unfortunately, I had to study for my exam and was unable to make it to the rooftop bar the rest of the group went to afterwards. However, it was a genuinely warm event that I never expected to attend—let alone in a foreign country. Studying abroad has really opened me up socially, and I feel happy at making so many friends. For my research, I’ve been working alongside another study abroad student in making a functional anaerobic digestion reactor. It has been quite an effort to work on research, but everyday I feel as though I am getting better at it, and it’s definitely a worthwhile learning experience.

My excursions this week were quite impressive: I marveled at the 2nd oldest university in the world, the Prado Museum, and the walls of the city of Avila. Visiting the Prado museum, I was able to see Las Meninas, the Garden of Earth Delights, and Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan. A lot of the exhibits at the Prado museum were closed due to Covid, so I was unfortunately unable to see all the Prado’s wonders. One of the coolest parts of my trip to Spain was being able to walk on the wall around Avila and see all of the city with such a spectacular view. You could really tell how old the structure was, and I got an excellent view of the cathedral and parks—truly a breathtaking experience. Finally, I was delighted to travel to Salamanca this weekend and explore this haven for college nightlife and historic Spanish culture. I was able to visit an art deco museum, as well as see the University of Salamanca.

As my week comes to a close, I look back and really soak up all the things I did, and really make the most of my time here in Spain. I will leave you all with two pictures of my journey in Spain: the wall of Avila and the beautiful city of Salamanca. I will write my next blog post soon, so until next time please have a great week.