Exploring Music in Spain

Submitted by Meghan Rydell on the 2024 Summer SPAN Intermediate program in Granada, Spain…

The angel that welcomes visitors into Cordoba, a city in Spain where we took a day trip. The images shows the beautiful view of the city that was only accentuated by the music of an accordion (which is not seen in the picture).

One of my favorite things about Spain so far is the music, which ripples through the narrow streets of Granada. Some afternoons, I take walks to explore parts of the city, and at every turn, I see a guitar or violin player performing palos of Flamenco music. I truly realized the prominence of musicians in Granada when walking through the Plaza de las Pasiegas and shops near the Royal Chapel where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are buried. At the beginning of my walk, I ad put my headphones in, but when I saw the first guitar player, I took them out to listen and realized the music of the city was constant, and better than anything I was listening to! There were at least four or five performers whose music echoed through the streets and filled them with rhythmic, passionate songs. In U.S. cities like New York, you often see street performers, but there is something so raw and authentic about the music in Granada. To the artists, playing is about more than just receiving a few pennies or trying to get discovered. Performances are not about using the crowd to advance the art; they are about telling a story of culture, which includes love, triumph, loss, and grief, all within a string of notes and chords. Besides the fact that every musician was so skilled in their ability to play their instruments, the passion of the performance was visible. On a simple walk, I felt the artist’s emotions as the music died down from exciting peaks to quiet solace. (Submitted June 14, 2024)

Contrasting Biodiversity Management

Submitted by Caira Flanagan on the 2024 Winter ENGL program in Netherlands

After a rather tame first week, our group braced ourselves for snowy back-to-back trips to national parks. The Dutch national parks of Veluwezoom and De Hoge Veluwe stand as admirable showcases of biodiversity in the Netherlands. Veluwezoom is renowned for its diverse landscapes encompassing heathlands, forests, and wild fauna. Though not far, De Hoge Veluwe showcases expansive sand dunes, along with woodlands and heath. Although their landscapes and ecological significance are similar, the conservation and management strategies employed by these parks are strikingly different. We got the opportunity to learn about these unique differences and how climate change affects their decisions. Together, Veluwezoom and De Hoge Veluwe serve as shining examples of successful conservation efforts, demonstrating the significance of preserving these pristine natural areas for current and future generations to enjoy.(Submitted February 1, 2024)

A Day in Seville

Submitted by Jack Mullarkey on the 2024 Winter program in Granada, Spain…

A view of the Catedral de Sevilla.

The last week in Spain was highlighted with a trip to Seville, the capital of the province of Andalucia in southern Spain. The city is home to places with both national and international fame. The Plaza de España in Parque María Luisa and the Reales Alcazares were home to scenes from media such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones. 

Our day began with a tour of The Plaza de España in Parque María Luisa. This was definitely my favorite sight from the entire day, it was a huge courtyard surrounded by ornate towers and balconies that overlooked a courtyard and fountain. We then took a tour of the Reales Alcazares, a 11th century Muslim palace known for its detailed architecture and beautiful gardens. My favorite part of the tour was the ducks that swam in the fountains and the peacocks that roamed the garden. 

Our day concluded with a tour of the Catedral de Sevilla, one of the world’s largest churches. Its gothic architecture with high ceilings, giant portraits, and golden details definitely made it memorable. The church also has a 40-story high tower that is only accessible by a ramp (if you want a good workout, I recommend it). (Submitted February 1, 2024)

Three Weeks in Leipzig

Submitted by Ethan Deutsch on the 2024 Winter LLCU program in Leipzig, Germany…

Making the Rotkraut, trying not to spill it with every handful!

It has now been two weeks in Leipzig, and I’m starting to love it here. This place has become my home away from home. I have a solid routine of attending class, stopping by the same coffee shop, and doing excursions with the group. This week we were given a cooking class which I really enjoyed. It involved us making rotkraut, goose leg, sausages, soup, and potato pancakes. This was fun because not only did I get to eat some authentic foods, but I also got to see exactly how it’s made. We also got to tour the BMW factory located in Leipzig. This was very interesting to me as I am studying engineering and would like to work somewhere similar to this. We could see just how all the cars were built, painted, and processed. On top of all this, we had an excursion to Dresden over the weekend, which was great to see as it has plenty of history. The Elbe river runs straight through the city, painting a great picture of the contrast between nature and the old architecture. 

I can’t believe it’s already been three weeks, and this trip is almost over. It feels like I just got here and like I’ve been living here forever. This weekend, I had the chance to invite a friend to visit me in Leipzig as he was studying abroad in London. This was special because Leipzig was a place that only I could bring back to friends and family, however this was a chance to share it with someone else. We went to a local soccer game, and it was quite amazing to see the entire city crowd onto the tram and rally for their team. At that point, I felt like I was one of the locals sharing their team pride with them. We also had a party held by the school with all of the exchange students and professors. This was great because I connected with some exchange students from other countries who also want to learn German. It really is a new experience to talk to someone, and the only language you have in common is German. 

RB Leipzig plays against Beyer Leverkusen.

This was the last week here in Leipzig and I am sad to be leaving. I had the best time here and I will miss it for sure. It’s crazy how fast this month went by but I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned so much studying abroad here, and I can’t wait to come back. I formed everlasting friendships, and saw so many things. Not only did I learn a lot about this country, but I learned a lot about myself. I have developed as a person and will definitely travel abroad many more times, every opportunity I get. This last weekend we got to travel to Berlin where I was able to see many famous monuments like the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust memorial. This city was large, exciting, and a great way to end our trip. 

A Trip Down to the Water (Nafplio)

Submitted by Josh Leonetti on the 2024 Winter LLCU Micro program in Athens, Greece.

On January 21st, our group took a three-hour bus ride south to the beautiful city of Nafplio. We arrived right near the dock, basically on the water and the view was breathtaking. One of my favorite parts of this trip was the Italian influence on the rich cuisine. Not only were we able to try amazing fresh seafood, but also some of the best handmade gelato I have ever had! My favorite part of this journey was between the one-thousand-step climb up to the historic Palamidi Fortress which overlooked the entire city on one side and the other the beautiful blue waters of the Argolic Gulf, or the amazing opportunity to swim in that water! Although it was super chilly, it definitely stood as a metaphor for the trip as a whole, which is to continue to try things out of your comfort zone. (Submitted February 5, 2024)

Balsamic Vinegar Tasting

Submitted by Logan Devaric on the 2024 Winter History program in Italy…

Learning about the process of making balsamic vinegar.

On this trip we were able to do many day trips as a group. We all hoped in a bus early in the morning to go explore a new city. On this trip we went to Siena, Dozza and Modena. All were amazing but one of the best ones was going to the Balsamic vinegar faciality in Modena. Modena is one of the largest producers of Balsamic Vinegar and we got to tour one of the places that makes it. We saw their land where they grow the grapes, then got a tour of where the magic happens. We learned how different types of wood effects the taste of the vinegar because it has to sit in wooden barrels for years. We did a tasting of different aged vinegars along with vinegars that sat in different woods for longer. We even tried Balsamic vinegar that was over 100 years old. We than had a lunch where each course featured Balsamic Vinegar. We had pasta with these Balsamic popping bubbles on top along with lots of cheese and meats. Overall it was a great experience and one I will never forget. (Submitted February 5, 2024)

The food we had featuring the Balsamic.

Foreign Friendliness

Submitted by Mabel Hance on the 2024 Winter LLCU program in Greece

The most notable difference between Greece and other countries I have lived in or visited is their attitude towards tourists or Americans. Everywhere we went we were greeted with smiles and often asked where we were from. When I would respond to this question with New York, whoever asked would usually try to connect through an experience they have in NY or one that a friend has had. Many times when dining with a large group, which is abnormal for most local Greek places, we were given some traditional Greek drink or food in the house and offered words of encouragement and to enjoy Greeve. These people were so proud to share their country with us and you could feel the love they had for their country and culture. They did not see speaking English or being lost and looking like a tourist as a negative thing and only cared about sharing all the experiences they loved. One time we were walking down a street filled with shops and we had an older man approach us to ask where we were from and what our plans were. Normally in the US you would be wary and cautious when a stranger approaches you and asks these types of questions but immediately you could tell he wanted to help us. We told him we were headed to dinner and he walked us to one of his favorite spots, noting the overpriced tourist traps along the way so we knew what to avoid. This meal was one of our favorites in the country and we were treated with some of the best hospitality at this restaurant. This experience we would never have had if a local, probably walking a path he often does, did not stop to offer some friendly guidance. (Submitted February 1, 2024)

First week in Leipzig

Submitted by Ethan Deutsch on the 2024 Winter LLCU program in Leipzig

This was my first week in Leipzig. Managed to get comfortable in the apartment, and figure out how to use the public transportation. So far I love it here, the city center is great with so much to do. We went to Erfurt this weekend, an old, nearby city with a lot of history to it. This city was great to explore with cobblestone streets, large churches, and a river flowing through the middle. The picture included is the largest church in Erfurt. (Submitted February 1, 2024)

A Recap of Rome

Submitted by Gabriella Dunay on the 2024 Winter HLTH program in Rome

When somebody says they’re traveling to Rome,  most people have a picture in their head of the  Colosseum, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain, but  there’s so much more to Rome than these  beautiful landmarks. First of all, Rome is a large  city with several parts. My accommodations  were located in Laurentina, and when I first got  off the metro stop I thought I was in Florida!  There were normal residential areas and  surprisingly, palm trees everywhere! Other metro  stops also had residential areas but also larger  downtown areas with local shops and  restaurants. Off the Colosseo metro stop, you  are met with a beautiful view of the Colosseum,  closely followed by large crowds of people  everywhere taking pictures of the landmarks and  locals trying to sell phone chargers and flowers.  After experiencing Rome for 3 weeks, I now  have a much more well-rounded picture in my  head about the drastically different areas within  Rome, and not just the major landmarks and city  culture that everybody always thinks of. (Submitted February 1, 2024)

A Day in Sitges

Submitted by Erin Ritchie on the 2024 Winter Elementary Education program in Barcelona, Spain…

On January 27th, my study abroad group and I traveled to Sitges. Sitges is a coastal town in the Catalonia region backed by the Parc Natural del Garraf mountains. This is a beautiful town about an hour away by train from Barcelona. After our arrival, we walked to the church of St. Bartholomew and St. Thecla and got a group picture with the UD flag. The church sits on a hill and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The weather was beautiful, and the sun shone brightly across the water. On top of the hill, we were overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The water was a beautiful sky blue color and clear along the shore. We headed down towards the beach and walked across the sand. The beach was filled with locals and tourists enjoying the sunny weather. The beach was also dog-friendly, so there were a few dogs running around. 

After enjoying our time on the beach, we explored the town. Just behind the beach were many restaurants with gorgeous views of the water. The town itself was filled with cute little boutiques and other beachy shops. While walking around, we noticed many famous architecture, such as the La Casa del Rellotge (The Clock House) and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Vinyet. I would describe Sitges as a very artistic town. While there are modern elements, the town feels timeless and classic. (Submitted January 31, 2024)