Greetings from Madrid! My summer has been amazing so far. I’ve been in Spain for 4 weeks now, taking 2 classes (writing 340 and history 195) in Madrid with 30 other Viterbi students. My study abroad program has been flying by! I got to Madrid a couple of days early to visit one of my best friends from USC who was studying abroad this past spring with the Marshall School of Business. She gave me a tour of the city, plus told me all of her favorite places to go, which was really helpful because now I’ve been able to take my Viterbi friends there. The weather here has been excellent – although it rained the first weekend, since then it has been in the 80’s or 90’s. The food here seems to mainly consist of bread, cheese and ham in a variety of different tapas forms, and lots of pastries. While the food here is good, I know at least I’m starting to crave California food, like In-N-Out and Mexican food!


My classes so far have been awesome, and the professors are great. We are currently working on 2 papers in writing 340 – a technical description paper and an article to submit to USC’s Illumin Magazine. My history class is on cultural globalization and contemporary Spain, and so far we have learned about Spain’s rulers, political history, political system, and the history of the different regions. Every Thursday we go on a field trip – so far we’ve been to the Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid’s city council, and the Casa de la Moneda museum, which is the mint museum.


Here are some highlights from the past month in Spain:
  • Our first weekend in Madrid we took a day trip to Segovia, to see the old Roman aqueduct, the cathedral, and the palace.
  • The Copa del Rey Spanish soccer final between Barcelona and Bilbao was also the first weekend. A group of us went to watch the game on 2 huge projectors set up in the Madrid Rio park, with about 100,000 other Spaniards!
  • The second weekend we had a day trip to Toledo to see the Cathedral, the El Greco painting The Burial of the Count Orgaz, the synagogue, and more!
  • We took a bike tour of the Madrid Rio project with the project architect himself. Madrid Rio is a huge park built a few years ago when they placed several major freeways in Madrid below ground.
  • We had writing class in Retiro park as inspiration for our blog series on engineering technologies in Madrid. Retiro park is definitely one of my favorite places in the city.
  • Last weekend we had a 4 day excursion to Andalucia in southern Spain, visiting the Cathedral and Giralda and the plaza de Espana in Sevilla, the Alhambra in Granada, and the Great Mosque in Cordoba! I absolutely loved the Alhambra, and that night we also got to see a flamenco show in a cave!
This past weekend we went to Barcelona. I absolutely loved the city, and was sad to leave this afternoon. Luckily I’ll be going back after the program ends with my parents! We spent our first day in Barcelona at the beach, catching up on sleep and sun and going for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Our second day was spent exploring the sites of Barcelona, including Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, and strolling through La Rambla and La Boqueria, an amazing fresh market with a huge selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood, plus an assortment of other food items. On our last day we slept in, went back to the beach, and ate at a crepe stand in the market that sets up by the beach every Sunday. The crepes were delicious! After a couple of hours on the beach it was time to head back to the hostel, because it was time to take our 8 hour bus ride back to Madrid!


For the last 3 weeks of the program, I have 3 writing papers to finish up, plus weekend trips to Salamanca, Lisbon, and Pamplona. I can’t wait to see what the next three weeks will bring. I wish I had more time in Spain!


Check out these pictures from my time in Spain so far: