This week in Spain has been action-packed, filled with
sightseeing, celebrity appearances and epic sports games! Let me
start from the beginning.
We began the week by taking a trip to Madrid, where
we enjoyed some of its super fun nightlife. My friends and I
checked out this cool, seven-story club, where we saw live musical
performances, watched crazy light shows and danced underneath a
decorative waterfall. Awesome experience!
While in Madrid, we saw football star Chad Ochocinco walking
around. How random is that? In retrospect, I should have whipped
out my video camera and asked him to give a shout out to St.
John’s. But, unfortunately, it completely slipped my mind (epic
fail on my part). My other friends were able to take pictures with
him, however, so at least we have some visual proof of our
We also did some sightseeing
while in Madrid, hitting up all the main attractions. This included
Puerta de Sol, Puerta de Alcala, the Botanical Gardens and Plaza de
Cibeles. In our Language and Culture course, we learned about the
significance of the city and the meaning behind each of these
monuments. I’ve been enjoying how my classroom experiences have
complemented the sightseeing.
My professors frequently encourage us to immerse ourselves in
Spanish culture, so my friends and I decided to try something that
is an integral part of Spanish life: attend a soccer game. Wow, did
we pick a good one! It just so happened that Real Madrid and
Barcelona were playing against each other – the two most popular
teams in the country. It’s basically the equivalent of the Super
Bowl for the Spaniards. The atmosphere was great; so many fans were
singing songs and cheering. Additionally, a journalist from El
Mundo (a major newspaper here) came up to interview us! I didn’t
plan on seeing a soccer game when I first came to Spain, but I’m so
glad that I did and I recommend you do the same if you ever travel
The next day was Passover and I
was able to see a beautiful religious parade on the streets.
Afterwards, we headed over to a bull fight to immerse ourselves
even more in Spanish culture. This was by far one of the most
memorable experiences of the trip, mostly because it was so
jarring. Some of my friends were shocked to see what goes on in a
bull fight, and I admit that I also felt very bad for the animal. I
found it so strange how loudly and how joyously the crowd cheered
once the bull was stabbed. At the same time, however, I recognized
the whole experience as a quintessential Spanish moment, an
important aspect of their culture that I was glad to have explored.
My friends and I may not have fully agreed with the ethics of bull
fighting, but we were glad to have exposed ourselves to something
new and we learned a lot in the process.
Without question, this has been one of my most memorable weeks
in Europe. It’s so much fun to immerse yourself in a foreign
culture, and this week was perfect proof of that.