Mérida, Sevilla, and Marvao — Oh my!




First off, let me say how fast a month goes by. When I originally decided to take part in a one month program in Spain, I was worried that a month was going to be too long. Now I see that it wasn’t long enough. With that said, for those who plan to study abroad in the future, I earnestly believe that you should enjoy your time to the fullest, for it will go by quicker than you think.

For me, one month was enough to shape me into a more independent, social person. Initially, I preferred to complete all of my studies within the comfort of my home. But now — after living with a Spanish host family, socializing with the Spanish community, vising churches, and meandering about with my classmates — I see that it is much more fun to explore the world.

I was initially nervous about traveling to Spain, for my Spanish was less than stellar. Spanning to today, however, it is astounding to see how much Spanish I learned. The first week, even, exemplified a huge improvement in my studies. As I have heard, there is no better way to learn a language than to travel abroad.


Mérida is an ancient Roman town in Spain. The types of buildings in Mérida varied greatly from the castle towns of my previous adventures.

Here is the outside of the famous Roman Colosseum in Mérida. I never imagined something so large could be made out of pure stone.

Mérida, although a small town, is most well known for its Roman ruins. The Roman Colosseum is especially popular with tourists.

Here is the entrance to the Colosseum’s main floor. Since the ruin was converted to a tourist spot, some technology accompanies it — such as the spotlights that can be seen.

The attention to detail of the stone walls in Mérida are breathtaking. In comparison to my home in New Mexico, Mérida (and Spain in general) has taller buildings to house more people with less space (think apartments in New York, for example). One thing that is especially enjoyable for me is to be able to walk all over any Spanish city.

Since the United States is so spread out, I take for granted my ability to walk around and take in the sights. My main recommendation for future students abroad is to walk as much as possible. Not only is it more relaxing, but it more healthy than driving everywhere.

The main pit of the Colloseum. My fellow classmates can be seen in their red UNM T-shirts.
My favorite sight in Mérida, the Roman Theatre sits right across from the Colosseum. Although there was no show at the time, it was curious to see how technological advances made some of the oldest buildings in the world more accessible. There are also Roman statues between the typical white Roman columns.


This excursion in Mérida concluded my academic study in Spain. However, I was so enthralled by Spanish language and culture that I decided to conduct two more trips over the course of a week. With a few friends, I traveled to Sevilla/Seville, a major tourist city South of Cáceres.

There, I experienced a major culture shock — I met many tourists who could speak Spanish better than I could. Growing up in New Mexico, I have never met other people speak Spanish besides my fellow Mexicans and Spaniards. As such, I was very pleased to become acquainted with some people from Asia whom are majoring in Spanish studies! The spread of language and culture is truly a thing of beauty.

The gorgeous “Plaza of Spain” in Sevilla. In the center of this plaza is a giant fountain where people can hop on a horse drawn carriage that travels the entire city.


Lastly, the region that I was staying in — Extremadura — is so close to Portugal that I decided to visit there, too. Though, only for a day. I visited the small castle city, Marvao again with some friends. It is said that Marvao has the most gorgeous view of Portugal, for it is high on a hill.

The defensive castle in Marvao. The “best view in Portugal” can be somewhat seen to the left.

All in all, my travels in Spain have left a lasting impression on my life. For anyone who has any doubts, I can attest to the fact that Spain is a great destination to travel to — especially for an extended vacation. I could not have completed this trip without the help of FEA; I am truly thankful for the opportunity to visit the homeland of my ancestors.