I just got back from the Viterbi Overseas Program, a wonderful program that takes us USC engineers abroad to take classes towards our major while enjoying a sizzling Spanish paella or walking through the narrow streets of La Latina. Basically, I just spent the last seven weeks abroad and miss it terribly, so bear with me while I reminisce.
My schedule in Madrid was very light, even though I took two classes (advanced writing and engineering economics). Monday through Thursday, we would have class for four hours a day ending at 1:00 pm. After that we had free time to explore the city, eat the food, and do homework of course. I spend my days at the famous and expansive Retiro Park, or wandering through the downtown Sol area, or checking out museums like the Prado, Reina Sofia, or Royal Palace. I also managed to catch a game at the Bernabeu Stadium (which was awesome) and a bull fight (less awesome). There’s a lot to do in Madrid, and the public transportation makes it a breeze to go around the city so I filled up my time easily. It was also nice to cook meals with everyone on the program once we realized how quickly we were bankrupting ourselves!
Then on weekends, the study abroad program usually had a trip planned for us. We went to Toledo, Valencia, Segovia, Granada, and Sevilla. I also went to Barcelona and the south of France on my own. If these cities don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry. They were all various shades of amazing with their own rich history and breathtaking monuments. I really left Spain feeling like I’d gotten to know not just it’s capitol city, but gotten a feel for the whole country as well!
Toledo is a historic and ancient city known for its steel. Toledo actually produced the swords for Lord of the Rings! The entire city is a UNESCO world heritage site because of how well preserved it is. Valencia is a total beach town, with a gorgeous park that runs through the entire city like a river. It has the largest aquarium in Spain, and the heart of the city has a huge belltower you can climb to the top of (with difficulty)! Segovia is famous for it’s giant, ancient aqueduct that was supposedly built by the devil. Granada is home to the Alhambra, a beautiful castle-fortress with an unbelievable view. Sevilla is a city with constant weddings. It is all dolled up from its role as host city for the 1992 World Fair, but it also has a rich history. It’s where Christopher Columbus set off on his voyage, and houses the largest cathedral in the world*. Finally, Barcelona was just amazing. Beaches, Gaudi buildings, and the Picasso museum made it truly memorable!
I’ve included a few pictures of my time abroad but trust me when I say you should just go for yourself. It’s indescribable and completely worth it! If you’re starved for more firsthand Viterbi Overseas experiences, check out Bria or Naish’s posts about the same trip, or look back at classics like Budde and Betty last year.
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*by square footage. Turns out there are a lot of largest cathedrals in the world and everyone’s very touchy about it.