I’m writing this on the patio of my host family’s home as my first month in Spain draws to a close. So much has happened in the past month that it’s difficult to decide what to include here. I suppose I’ll start with some basic information about the program that I’m in. I’m studying at the Instituto Franklin which is a center for North American studies at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. The institute is located in the heart of Alcalá, a small city—and UNESCO world heritage site—located 30 minutes outside of Madrid. It’s primarily known for its university (which is thousands of years old and a center of academic achievement in Spain) and for being the birthplace of Cervantes. Since my classes are located in the institute, all my classmates are other US students studying abroad. The classes are still conducted entirely in Spanish, though I’m sure the professors speak more slowly than they would in a class of fluent speakers. This month I’ve been taking a class on the history of the great Spanish painters and an oral communication class about the traditions of Spain. I’ve also been staying with a host family, which has been a bit of an adventure in and of itself.
Below, I have included a photo gallery with captions explaining all that’s happened in the last few weeks (excluding the pictures from my trip to Valencia, which I will put in their own post).