Highlights from Princeton in Spain 2012
Students Share Their Stories
“I asked the students in SPA 310S to write journal entries recording their personal reactions to their most interesting, puzzling or otherwise significant experiences in Spain. They were supposed to reflect about their fears or expectations, their rewarding or frustrating experiences or findings, their cultural and linguistic observations, etc. From the onset, class diaries became an invaluable record of my students’ cultural learning and their impressions of a new environment. Very often they gave us an opportunity to bring into the classrooms questions and observations that otherwise would have probably remained unvoiced.” - Alberto Bruzos, Director of Princeton in Spain
Trip to Segovia
Michael Glassman '15
“Going to Segovia, I didn't know what to expect to a large extent. It was a name that didn't carry any baggage for me, a city that I had no clear picture of, but like much of Spain's historical and physical beauty, it didn't disappoint. Mainly, Segovia was beautiful, and on a day when I was in need of some sun and some trees, soaking up the light atmosphere of the city was a pleasant experience. I imagine it might be quite different to live there, as opposed to being there as a tourist, but I can't put my finger on just exactly what gives me that impression. Like Toledo, it seems to me to be a city where you don't need to try very hard to feel the history. It's not that I felt transported back in time, but that I was very aware of the both past and present of the city, as though you can feel that passage of time. It's in the buildings, and it's in the roads and it's in the view of the horizon from the castle that seemed to me as though it had always been there.
It was quite an interesting contrast to board the bus, leave Segovia behind and end up in Madrid's bus station. And yet, the contrast wasn't the same as it might be in the U.S. to leave a small city and end up in a large one. Both carry so much history with them at all times (for some reason the image that comes to mind is two different peaks of the same mountain range, which can be so different in height and aspect, but still continuous in a very important way).”
Amaral in Concert
Dale Shepherd '14
“The Amaral concert was great! I've always believed that the Spanish had a knack for music. Going to concerts is a good way to really integrate oneself into the community. The community fair was very interesting as well. One thing I wasn't sure about was how many people were long-time Spaniards and how many were immigrants. I would have thought about it anyway, but I need to be able to identify them better because I'll be writing my paper on immigration in Spain. I believe I've seen two immigrants, both of them female cashiers. I think they're immigrants based on the way they speak Spanish. We will see!
The upcoming week is going to be quite busy. I have my last volunteer session at the Cruz Roja, we have our presentations tomorrow, and there is a paper due on Thursday. Time really flies by. I hope I can just stay calm and get everything done as efficiently as possible. Given that we have only two weeks left, I think it's important that I try to take advantage of the opportunity to practice Spanish. From now on, I'll be writing these entries in Spanish. Yikes. And maybe I'll talk Spanish with natives more often. Ya veremos.”
Watching the UEFA Euro 2012
Taylor Chin '15
“Tonight a group of students and I went to the Plaza de Toros to watch the soccer match. Although I'm not really a soccer fan, I was still excited to go and witness the enthusiasm of everyone else. The amount of people packed into the Plaza and their level of excitement were tremendous. In fact, I found it somewhat surprising that there were many more people who went to the Plaza to watch Spain vs. Ireland that there were to watch the bullfight last week. (I also found it somewhat disturbing to be standing in the center of the Plaza knowing that 6 bulls had bled and died there only a week ago.) The soccer match wasn't too exciting given that Spain was in the lead and in control of the plays for the duration of the game. And the fact that the final score was 4-0 in such a typically low-scoring sport further testifies to the difference of the two teams' performances.
Nevertheless, the masses of spectators -all donning red and yellow and accessorizing with the Spanish flag as a cape or skirt- erupted into applause, cheering, anger, and frustration throughout the entire match. I found myself increasingly hooting and booing as the game progressed and the undying zeal of the people around me took over. I feel like I experienced an authentic cultural moment tonight, and I believe I may understand a bit more clearly why the Spanish have a reputation for being so passionate.”
Ellyssa Czajkowski '15
“El sol es lo que más define este lugar El sol que brilla, el sol que ilumina, el sol que da vida, el sol que calienta, que hierve, que quema, que mata. El sol eterno. Sí, es muy similar a Nuevo México. Y ahora entiendo mejor por qué la bandera y el símbolo de la gente es un sol. No sé por qué no me había dado cuenta entonces, pero no lo entendía hasta que me vine aquí. No sé por qué. El sol domina la vida, y cuando se va, se hace fiesta. Pero sin este sol la gente no sabría que hacer con sus vidas. Hay un sol hasta las nueve de la tarde, aquí se llama tarde, en otros lugares sería la noche, y es un sol que mantiene su calor. El sol es el verdadero rey de esta tierra.”