Amsterdam

 

Alright, another blog!

I spent this past weekend in Amsterdam. And once again, it was another wonderful experience.

The city is amazing, and I found the canal system very interesting. This was a very relaxing vacation. We ventured around the city, stopping at a Cheese Museum, parks, and other random places.

We encountered the house where Anne Frank hid during WWII. Although I was not able to go in because tickets were sold out, just being close to something with such great historical significance caused a moment of reflection.

Overall, another great experience provided by my study abroad opportunity. The people I continue to meet and befriend across different counties is amazing.

Until next time,

Mitchel

Bomberos Sevilla

Bomberos Sevilla

Since I have a little catching up to do, I figured a couple blogs would be better than one.

This has by far been when of my favorite, personal experiences.

During my time in Seville, Spain I have befriended a couple firefighters – mainly Luis who is pictured with me. They were able to give me a tour of their station/trucks/equipment. We discussed how public safety functions in each of our areas, and the problems that we face. After the tour, we exchanged department shirts, so now I have an official “Bomberos Sevilla” (Seville Firefighters) uniform shirt and he has a Jamestown/Dickeyville EMS “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” shirt.

Even though we are from different countries and speak different first languages, we are united by the same passion of community service and public safety.

In addition to this experience, I happened onto the anual “Carrera de Rescates,” which is a competition between technical rescue teams and fire departments throughout Europe. This experience was awesome, and allowed me to reconnect with my public safety passion, since I haven’t had many opportunities to do so here.

I have also had similar discussions with police officers from the national and local police agencies. These spur of the moment discussions have provided valuable learning experiences that will stick with me for life.

Until next time,

Mitchel

Visit to Rome and Semana Santa

 

So here I am with my 3rd blog post. In my typical style, a lot of time has passed between my last post and now.

**Warning: photos do not do my experience justice nor give sufficient beauty to where it is deserved.**

The two pictures with processions are from Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Seville, Spain. It was amazing to see all of the people that participate in this week long celebration. The floats were vibrant and breathtaking scenes. Not only this, but the music, songs, and visible emotional reactions from local people demonstrated the remarkable personal significance that Semana Santa carries.

The other photos are from my four day trip to Rome. This experience was amazing. The architectural accomplishments and historical significance are remarkable. The views were amazing. I visited sights including the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, Vatican City, Castle Sant’ Angelo, and others.

This study abroad experience continues to be amazing. Not only am I improving my understanding of the Spanish Culture and my speaking ability, studying abroad has afforded other indirect opportunities. These include traveling to other countries, and exposing myself to even more cultures. Study abroad is a remarkable experience that provides an interesting perspective to the world, what is important, etc.

Until next time,

Mitchel

Excursions around Seville and Spain

 

So it has been about three weeks since my last post. The most important thing I have learned is to post more regularly. This afternoon I spent several hours sifting through over 350 photos! The ones above are some of the better ones.

I am still having a great time here. This trips never ceases to amaze or inspire me. There is a lot of rich history and beautiful architectural designs.

During these past three weeks I have explored several parts of Seville in my Artistic Monuments class. The first visit was to the Lebrija Palace. The artwork and detail throughout the entire mansion (indoor mosaic photos) are amazing. A trip to the Royal Alcázar Palace instilled even more awe. The bath area (large pool underground) is only one of numerous cool places located inside of Alcázar. We even encountered very friendly ducks that permitted us to pet them.

I have also engaged in two excursions outside of Seville. The first trip was to Granada, were we spent the first day exploring La Alhambra. Words cannot describe this fortified palace. There were fountains and gardens throughout the entire place. It contained ruins of houses destroyed by numerous battles and unbelievable architectural accomplishments. The pictures that I display are only fractions of this place. The picture with the sun rays only shines on a portion of La Alhambra!

The second trip was to Ronda. This city was as equally amazing! We toured la plaza del toro, which was very interesting. It had a huge arsenal of antique rifles and pistols that captured my interest. The stone bridge that is pictured above was my favorite view. It connects the old and new city. And it makes the world seem endless when you stand on it and peer over the side.

I also celebrated my 21st birthday this past weekend! I am glad I was able to include the Ronda trip in my birthday. My friends from SAIIE ensured that I had a great time!

I feel that my Spanish speaking is improving and I am more comfortable with just speaking, letting what I say flow naturally without a lot of thought.

Overall, Spain is great! I love every aspect about the country and culture. I look forward to what is to come next.

Until next time,

Mitchel

Seville, Spain and Adventures 2016

Seville, Spain and Adventures 2016

Summation of my first week in Sevilla. I guess I’ll give this blogging thing a go. Don’t be surprised if there are technically difficulties, as this isn’t really my thing! haha

After an 8hr flight I landed in Madrid, I began the 2.5hr train ride to Seville. The beautiful sights and excitement of leaving the US for the first time was worth virtually no sleep the first several days. So far, the entire experience has been amazing. The other students in the program make everything better too! We have seen Flamenco, visited numerous sites, and pretty much walked every street in the city (whether it was because we were going to our destination or just lost, it doesn’t matter). All of the monuments are breath-taking, and we can’t wait to depart on weekend trips. After the first couple of days, we have all grown accustomed to walking at least 10miles everyday! I think it is safe to say that most of us have our sense of direction now.

It took a while getting used to some of the customs, but it is the norm now. For example, lunch is usually between 2-3pm, and dinner isn’t until 9pm. All of the food is delicious! My host mom ensures that the three of us she is hosting do not go hungry. This entails serving multiple entrees, fruits, vegetables, fresh bread, and desert during every lunch and dinner. However, Spaniards are more nocturnal, so the late dinner and late start to the day is more convenient. During the weekends, it is typical to not return from bars, clubs, or other events until 5-7 the following morning. Drinking is not tabooed here, like it is in the U.S. The drinking age here is 16. It is the norm to have a beer or wine with a meal, or while eating tapas with friends. The culture isn’t about drinking to get drunk, and everyone is responsible with their alcohol intake. It’s about enjoying the time with your friends. I think this goes to show that there isn’t a target age that drinking becomes okay, but rather the importance of the culture and upbringing around alcohol.

We started classes this past Monday, and I already know I am going to enjoy them. I have 4 classes in Spanish, and then an Artistic Monuments in English. In just the week I have been here, it is safe to say that immersion is the best way to pick up a language. I have already greatly improved from when I first arrived. Although there is still plenty of room for improvement of my speaking abilities, I understand most of what is said, and can read and write very well. I find it interesting that numerous locals think I am from Spain.

I look forward to seeing what else this trip has in store!

Until next time,

Mitchel