Hello from gorgeous San Diego! I just arrived today back from Europe, after an incredible experience studying abroad with Viterbi Overseas in Madrid. The last time I blogged we were about halfway through with the program. Little did I know how busy I would be in the last couple weeks, with homework and traveling! While I started the trip only knowing a few of the other students in the group, I can now say that I’ve become friends with all 29 other students, and cannot wait to see everyone again when we get back to USC in the fall – which is only about a month away! My last few weeks have been filled with homework, seeing last minute things in Madrid, and traveling. For our writing 340 class, we had to write a 50 page group proposal and give a formal presentation on a technology we have found in Madrid that we thought could apply to USC. In addition to this large project and paper, I had a short research paper and presentation for my history class, on the integration of the old city into the modern layout of the new city of Granada. While that last few weeks have been super busy, we all found time to celebrate the Fourth of July, complete with an American burger dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Madrid!
And one of the highlights of the trip, watching Spain win the Euro Cup!!! (Sorry Italy fans.) It was so exciting to see the city and country unite to support the national soccer team. My friends and I almost didn’t make it back to Madrid in time for the final – we were stuck in the Lisbon airport for 11 hours that day! But luckily we made it back just in time to see the last couple goals, and celebrate with the rest of our group. We even joined the locals and jumped in the fountain in the middle of the Puerta del Sol, the center of Madrid!
Our weekend trip to Lisbon was probably my favorite weekend trip of the program. A group of about 10 of us went to Lisbon for four days, on the second to last weekend of the program. Although none of us spoke Portuguese, most people actually spoke English, rather than Spanish, which was super helpful. We went to the aquarium, went up an elevator ride for an amazing view of the city, and went to this adorable little town, Sintra, 40 minutes outside of Lisbon to go tour amazing castles! It seemed like we weren’t meant to ever leave the city, because our original flight back to Madrid was delayed then cancelled, and our second flight was also delayed so we ended up staying in the airport all day!
After our program ended most students went off traveling through Europe in smaller groups, but about half of us started our journeys with a weekend trip to Pamplona for the beginning of the San Fermin festival, also known as the running of the bulls! While I didn’t personally run, several people did including fellow VSA Gavin (you can read his blog about Pamplona here). Luckily no one was hurt, and we all had so much fun joining in the celebrating during the day, catching a fireworks show at night, and watching the run in the morning. It was definitely a weekend trip I will never forget.
The best part was that at the end of my weekend in Pamplona, I got to go back to Madrid to join my parents for a family vacation in Europe! We’ve spent the last 10 days in Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris. Since I had already been to Barcelona I was able to be tour guide for my parents, as we toured Camp Nou (the stadium for FC Barcelona, my favorite soccer team!), Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, las Ramblas, and of course spent a day at the beach. We hit all the highlights in Paris too, spending time at the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame and Versailles. After missing the Fourth of July in the US, we got to enjoy the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, complete with a parade and fireworks show!
While I have had an incredible time in Europe, I really do love being back home in San Diego. In-N-Out, here I come!