Monday, January 2, 2017

Hola, Papa Noel

My first week in Granada, Spain has been amazing! Arriving in Granada I landed at a very small airport with my program director waiting for me. I am living with a host family here with a roommate from Texas. I have classes five days a week that help me to learn Spanish. During a short break in classes each day I am able to go to a busy cafe that serves chocolate and churros!

After classes I walk home and have lunch with my host family. Then, embark on a new adventure in the city. The food is very different here and living with a family helps me truly see what Spain culture is really like.

There is a medium sized breakfast at 8 a.m., a large lunch at 2 p.m., and a light dinner at 9:30 p.m.! When going out tapas and sangria are a very common thing to eat. Tapas are delicious and can be found at almost any bar! They are different everywhere and usually involve some sort of topping on a piece of bread. I have met many new people in my classes. Including people from Italy, Korea, Spain, and the United States. We are all trying to learn Spanish, so we have a language in common to speak in.

After my classes each day I go with a group of students to see the beautiful sights in the city. Spain has so many amazing things to visit! There are thousands of beautiful places to see in Granada alone.

The mountains lie in the background of the city and the beach is only a mere two hours away! Orange trees line the narrow streets with cafes dispersed everywhere. It was a shock being immersed into Spanish with my host family and classes speaking only Spanish, but in the span of a week I have caught on quickly! Everything is in Spanish, tours, conversations with my host family, eating at restaurants, so it is very important to learn quickly.

  • Monday — I went to a part of the city called the Albayzin. Albayzin was extremely beautiful! There were amazing views of the Alahambra (which I will visit next week) and narrow streets with motorbikes zooming everywhere. Almost all the streets are designed with small rocks laid one by one and narrow streets to keep people shaded on hot days. The houses are all extremely white and this part of the city has many historical elements.
  • Wednesday — I went on a graffiti tour and ate at a traditional Arabic tea house. The graffiti here adds color to the city and nearby white houses. All the food here is amazing and the art and scenery are even better!
  • Thursday — I went on a Bellenes tour! All around the city there are large tents set up with beautiful nativity scenes celebrating the Christmas holiday that people walk through. There are over fifty Bellenes in the city and they all compete for different prizes awarded by the city.
  • Friday — I went to El Parque de las Ciencias. It is a large science museum with an aquarium, various animals, and science information. On Friday night we went to tapas for dinner at 10 p.m. In Granada it is not unusual to eat dinner at 9:30 pm and go to bed around 1:00 am. There is usually a siesta between 2 to 5 p.m. where you can nap and many places are closed during this time.

Studying in Granada during the holiday season is very exciting! There are many different parades and fiestas going on. For Christmas Eve there is a large family party with a lot of food, wine, and conversations. Exchanging of presents doesn't happen until Three King’s Day, however Papa Noel (Santa) comes Christmas Eve to give gifts for the children.

There is so much to do in the beautiful city of Granada and living with a family makes studying here even more exciting. I know where all the best places to go and things to do here are located. I’m only at the beginning of my second week, but I can’t wait to do more exploring throughout this beautiful city.

— Racquel Kreischer #HuskyUnleashed #HuskyAbroad

Racquel Kreischer is a senior engineering major spending this winter break studying abroad in Granada, Spain. Through the Instituto MediterrĂ¡neo Sol Granada she is studying Spanish while living with a Spanish family learning up-close about Spainards lives, language and culture.

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