This year, a handful of students travelled to Spain under the supervision of Spanish teachers Alex Basbas and Erin Sheehan for February break. Thirty-one students packed their bags for the trip to see sights in Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Barcelona and Valencia. Touring the country provided the travellers with unforgettable memories, and allowed them to experience the culture of a foreign country.
Among all of the hot spots visited throughout the week, one seemed to be more unforgettable than the rest. Multiple students were in awe upon visiting La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, including Amanda Blair, ‘14, who said, “I adored everything, but I think my favorite was La Sagrada Familia– the stained glass windows were incredible.” Another favorite site of the travellers was the view from Montserrat, Melissa Hurlburt, ‘14, said, “Montserrat is a monastery built into the side of a mountain a little over 4000 feet above sea-level. The monastery is still in use,so it was pretty cool to see how monk live at 4000 feet. It was also a really beautiful place with great views.” JJ Bobek, ‘14, added, “Barcelona was absolutely breathtaking. We stopped on a hill and saw the entire city next to the Mediterranean, I’ll never forget it.” Those who went on the trip to Spain were also given the opportunity to tour El Greco in Toledo, see an authentic Flamenco show and walk las Ramblas.
Although a main objective of the trip was to have fun, students were also able to learn about the Spain’s culture at the same time. By being fully immersed in the culture, students were able to walk away with a better understanding of Spain than they ever could through a video or in-class lecture. Bobek said, “I learned Spain is crazy about olive oil, they nearly produce half the world’s supply.” Emilie Newsham, ‘15, said “I was surprised at the fact that Spanish isn’t spoken in Barcelona! They speak Catalan, and at one point I had to have someone translate my Spanish into Catalan back into Spanish.” Hurlburt found it interesting that, “Unless you’re going to a Dunkin’s or Starbucks, when you go to a cafe there is no such thing as ‘to go’, and you have to ask for the bill if you want to leave because it’s considered rude/rushing you if the waiter brings it to you. Also, not so much in the big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, but in the smaller cities and towns they had siesta, when all the stores closed from about 1:30 – 3:00 in the afternoon for people to nap, have lunch or hang out.” In Spain, they also have American-themed stores, Elizabeth Corsetti, ‘15, said, “The Spanish people’s perception of Americans is very stereotypical, especially what they thought we ate. Emilie Newsham and I found a store called “Taste of America,” and it sold mostly things like squeezable cheese and Kool Aid, and it even had an American flag over a display of Cheerios!”
Everyone that got to experience Spain this February had a blast and learned so much information about authentic Hispanic life. David Walsh, ‘15, said “People should really go to Spain and visit at one part of their lifetime!” So what are you waiting for? Book your ticket today so you can have an unforgettable experience just like the travellers of HB.