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All blog posts are by University of Michigan students who have participated in a CGIS program. The following blogs are students studying abroad in Spain. 

Winter 2018

Marlisa reflects on her semester in Granada

Alpujarras. Ronda. Sevilla. Cordoba.

Just a few of the excursions that we’ve taken so far in my IES Granada program. When I first chose to study abroad, I was dead set on going to Madrid. In fact, I even applied to the IES program in Madrid. I only changed my mind once I received an email about the program in Granada and I must say it’s been the best decision I could’ve ever made and part of the reason why I say that is because of the excursions provided in this program.

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Shelby reflects on her semester in Granada

The pre trip jitters started to set in after New Years. I am quite excited to go to Spain, but at the same time nervous to leave my home for that long. Spain seems like a very nice country, full of culture and food and life. Being able to speak the language is a plus, I would be much more nervous going to a place in which I couldn't communicate. I met some of the people that are going to be in my group, and they seem really nice, I think I'll get along with them well. The weather is supposed to be amazing, it's in the 70s right now and I cannot wait to get there! Michigan is quite cold and gloomy at the moment, I'm quite looking forward to a new adventure under the sun.

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Hannah reflects on her winter term in Granada

For me, everything from the ceramic tile street signs to the fountains flowing in the city plazas was exciting, new, and just so different. Now a few weeks later, that stage is starting to fade and I'm entering the into some deeper adjustment. When you spend time living in a new place, your focus starts to shift to the differences between this new culture and you home culture, and internal conflicts inevitably arise. With the first weeks of novelty now wearing off, the new challenge is to be patient in the slow shift away from all things comfortable and familiar and adapting to those unfamiliar and unknown cultural customs and ideas. 

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Spring/Summer 2018

Dipita reflects on her spring term in Barcelona

My friends and I arrived to our study abroad program a day early. We did a lot of walking today. I thought walking from Central Campus, like the Union area, to the hill was a lot, but try walking 10 miles in one day! Yep, my friends and I walked 10 miles in one day without realizing it. 

I discovered lots of interesting and cultural differences on the first day. I learned that there is a law stating you are not allowed to make loud noises past 10pm, if you do so, you can get fined. Showers should not be longer than 10min because of the limited water supply here. The streets are very narrow! Everyone drives really fast, so you cannot j-walk!

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Nyla reflects on her spring term in Barcelona

My name is Nyla Hart and I recently finished my sophomore year at the university.  I’m from Detroit, MI and I’ll be a part of the Sports and Society: Barcelona trip.  I’ve travelled internationally once before with my family and we visited Accra, Ghana.  I’ve been very nervous the past few days as my trip gets closer and closer.  My flight leaves tomorrow at 10 AM.  One of the things that I am worried about is being African American while abroad.  I know myself and I know that I can become easily stressed about things.  I’ve talked to my mom about how I’ve been feeling and she’s reassured me many times and has been trying to make me feel comfortable before my trip.

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Jack reflects on his spring term in Barcelona

I didn’t have much expectations about this trip. Maybe because I didn’t want to assume anything or maybe because of lack of experience. I’d never been out of the country before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew things would be different, but how different? And what exactly would be different? As my departure date neared I grew more excited with each day.

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Spring/Summer 2018

Brittany reflects on her spring term in Barcelona

The Sports and Society program in Barcelona, Spain provided so many opportunities to explore the city and areas relevant to our coursework through excursions. One of our first trips as a class was to the Olympic and Sport Museum on the hill of Montjuïc. Featuring items and information related to the history of the Olympic games, the museum held an interesting—and generally unknown—poster of an event titled the 1936 Olimpiada Popular. The Olimpiada Popular was planned as a protest against the 1936 summer Olympics that were being held in Berlin, Germany. During this time Adolf Hitler and the Nazi ideals controlled Germany and the Olimpiada Popular was offered as an alternative to competitors worldwide to show their resistance to the messages promoted by Nazi Germany. Ultimately, the alternate games—scheduled to be the week of July 19—were canceled due to the uprising of the Spanish Civil War. Although the Olimpiada Popular did not take place, the display of opposition to Nazi beliefs and the Berlin Olympic games was communicated through the athlete’s support and anticipated participation.

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Lorena reflects on her spring term in Barcelona

Living on the nicer side of Barcelona can be a blessing and a struggle all at once. This thursday morning, we were all up at the usual 8:30 am to have enough time to make it to class by 10 am all the way in the city center. Once we were ready, we grabbed our croissant our host mom left us everyday and rushed out the door. We walked down the block to the metro stop and took the metro all the way down to Plaza Catalunya. Because it was so early, it usually was not that busy with tourists, so it was quicker to navigate through people and get to class, which was another four blocks away from the city center. When we make it to the school building, we sit outside planning what we would do after class while waiting for our professor to get there.

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Jordan reflects on her spring term in Barcelona

I just got to Barcelona two days ago and it has been a whirlwind of activities since then.  We have toured the city and it was helpful if I can remember all of the information that our guides gave us, and they treated to some gelato once the tour was over.  We had two small intro classes to teach us a little bit about life in Barcelona.  There meal schedule and planning is much different than ours in the United States.  In Spain they eat a normal breakfast, then have a coffee break around 11:00, then have a large lunch around 2:00, then another coffee break around 4:00, and then a small dinner around 9:00 or 10:00pm.  This is so late to eat!  I usually have dinner at 6:00 and then maybe a snack at 11:00.

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Ryan reflects on her spring term in Barcelona

In the US, ribbons equal cancer. You sell them, you make facebook graphics of them, you tattoo them, and you talk about them; rarely do you wear them. Different colors represent different diagnoses, and though everyone identifies pink quickly as breast cancer, it is common knowledge that there are many ribbons. In Barcelona, there is only one color. One yellow ribbon, with heavy significance, and extreme pervasiveness. Yellow ribbons can be seen hung on buildings, pinned on shirts, painted on the streets, and practically everywhere. When I first arrived to Barcelona, my previous experiences only allowed me to identify ribbons in one way.

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