Upon Return from Madrid, Spain 2019




Upon Return from Madrid 2019

(This vlog has been adapted from vlog submitted to Gallaudet Research Support and International Affairs, Education Abroad program.)

4:24 ASL vlog; English version below with image (ID) & video descriptions (VD) in brackets:

[ID: Picture of nightlife in Madrid, Spain. White text across the screen reads: “Viaje conmigo”]

[VD: Felix Gonzalez, bald brown Chicano wearing a black t-shirt while presenting against a white badkdrop]

Hello! I’m Felix Gonzalez. I’m Chicano DeafBlind, majoring in IT and minoring in Spanish. I participated in Gallaudet’s study abroad program in Madrid which emphasized two main areas; it kept me very busy!: LSE and theatre (dramatic arts).

[ID: a graphic appears in the top right corner: “Gallaudet In Madrid” in red capital letters embedded in an orange box]

LSE is Spanish Sign Language. I attended class every morning, which taught LSE and written Spanish. I really enjoyed learning in that class. 

[ID: photo of the LSE class appears in the top-right corner of the screen. Sete Nieto, the Spaniard LSE teacher, and her Spaniard assistant, Manu, focuses to film two Chicana students, Isela Garcia and Carina Dominguez, both dressed in black standing against a whiteboard]. 

[VD: Sete and Manu films comparisons between ASL (Felix Gonzalez) and LSE (Juan Cornejo, Chilean Deaf) both dressed in black, standing against a whiteboard]

The second component was dramatic arts in LSE. What we learned in the LSE class was applied to actual use in the theater. We reviewed a script in Spanish and then translated it to LSE.

[ID: theater poster/flyer appears in the top-right corner of the screen: from top to bottom: “Taller de teatro Gallaudet; “Espíritus de Oriente (El camino de la sabiduria);” center, a hand grasping a ball of light by the index finger and thumb (like the LSE/ASL sign for spirit); bottom, cast names and sponsor logos, including GU, CIEE, etc.]

Then, we took turns playing with our lines in LSE, role playing with each other and then discussed (feedback) with the teacher. We continued to rehearse until it was time to stage our performance to really grasp the experience.

[IDs: A photo collage of 3 photos staggered and embedded onto the left of a larger, main photo of Felix wearing a black tshirt and jeans, on stage (not seen) on the right  and another actor, Juan wearing a black tshirt, in the background of photo. Felix is in mid signing position (“two friends grow up”) Staggered photos on left: 1) Felix sitting in the center wearing a black t shirt with other light skinned and brown actors in the background, wearing black t-shirts, mingling; one is wearing a white tshirt to represent the spirit 2) Carina Dominguez, a brown Chicana wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, on stage on one knee with palms facing chest as if in sadness/mourning (?) 3) a white Latino actor, Esteban Kovacs, wearing a white tshirt and jeans, signing “look/watch” at a distance as 2 other actors are in the background wearing black t-shirts. Then another photo appears. It is a wrap-up photo of cast members, teachers, and drama teachers involved]

There were other activities we did, such as touring museums or different restaurants to try different foods. 

[ID: Photo of a Museo del Prado appears in the top-right corner of the screen. It then changes to a picture of a local Spanish restaurant]

We also toured different cities and learned about their local cultures and histories. 

[ID: Picture of statue of a white, marble man on a horse in the middle of a dome building with glass windows on a large marble floor appears (Palacio de Cristal]

We also visited the local Deaf community. 

[ID: Photo of a community center for the Deaf appears; writing on the door mantle is not completely legible (Asociacion Valenciana), but last couple words read “De Personas Sordas”]

There are two highlights I would like to share. At one museum I visited, there were many different pieces of art, which I enjoyed very much.

[ID: Photo of the outside of Spain’s national museum of 20th century art, Museo Reina Sofía, with what appears to be glass elevators on either side of the front entrance in the middle of the building. It has 4 floors and multiple windows on each floor. Few people are walking by]

There was one painting that caught my attention, “Guernica” by Picasso.

[ID: Photo of people gathered around the painting “Guernica” by Picasso in the museum]

I was deeply fascinated with this huge painting! I truly appreciated being able to study this painting.

[ID: Picture of the painting “Guernica” by Picasso appears. It appears abstract using geometric shapes of people and bulls in distress, interlocking in grey, black, and white colors]

I also went to a city called Toledo, which is about 45 minutes from Madrid. 

[ID: Picture of the city Toledo, which sits opposite luscious green mountains separated by a river. It is sunny]

It has a beautiful, rich history, and is a very old city. I noticed that there is a mixture of Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim cultures there. It is a beautiful and old city with many churches that have Gothic-style architecture.

[ID: Picture of a tall Gothic-style building in Spain with tall, spiked columns]

It was very nice and fascinating! 

[ID: 2 collages of photos embedded: 1st collage) 3 photos left to right, top to bottom, 1) Felix looking out upon a river near the city of Toledo; 2) a long street passing under a bridge leading to large walls; 3) an outlook at the large city of Toledo, filled with many buildings under the sky above. 2nd collage) 4 photos, top-left, top-right, and bottom-right show the insides of Gothic-style churches in Spain; bottom-left, the outside of a tall Gothic-style church under a blue sky]

This program definitely impacted my life! LSE helped me greatly improve my reading and writing of Spanish. I can read and write so much better now. Secondly, I witnessed so many people from many different walks of life that increased my knowledge and understanding. This influenced me to grow. I experienced so many diverse people who were so connected harmoniously. 

Studying abroad in Spain increased my motivation to travel more. So, what comes next? 1) I will focus on finishing remaining classes for my Spanish minor; 2) I will continue to learn LSE through vlogs by Deaf and DB Spaniards; 3) I will maintain contact with my network connections from Spain through FaceTime/VP; 3) I will join a Latinx student organization at GU. Thank you for supporting my study abroad program! Bye!  

[ID: Image of logo for Fund for Education Abroad set against a black background. In the logo, there is a circle in the middle of four arcs pointing inward towards the circle. At the bottom of the logo is a blue bar with the words “Fund for Education Abroad” inside of it; below the logo is a link in white font to the general site and a direct url within this site to Felix’s personal blogs/vlogs: “www.fundforeducationabroad.org” “https://fundforeducationabroad.org/author/felix-gonzalez/;” above the logo, a cursive “Thank you” emerges]

[VD: Video is a screen recording. Person is typing in the Google search bar “funds education abroad felix gonzalez” and searches. The results appear, and the mouse clicks on the first link, which reads “Felix Gonzalez, Author of Fund for Education Abroad”. This pulls up Felix’s journal and the person scrolls down the page with 5 journal entries (Pre-departure Thoughts: Madrid, Spain; Learning a New Language: ASL vs LSE; Learning to Perform in LSE: A DeafBlind Experience in Theater; Protactile Solidarity and Cultural Exchange; and Learning the Local Spanish Culture: Connect, Connect, Connect) and clicks on a journal entry, “Protactile Solidarity….” They scroll through this blog, and the screen fades to black]