Indiana University Overseas Study

Life in Seville

Carla Sraders

Over the past month, I have done an extensive amount of traveling and exploring different parts of Spain, Europe, and Africa. I’ve travelled to the majority of Andalusia (southern Spain), multiple cities in Morocco, and made my first trip to another European country! While the weekends have been jam-packed with new experiences, I’ve really missed spending as much time in Seville. Traveling from Thursday to Sunday every weekend maximizes the time I can spend in other cities, but really hinders the amount of time I’m able to spend in Seville. Coming abroad, most people seem to focus on all of the traveling they can do when within Europe. Having chosen a European city, I definitely planned to take a lot of trips when I signed up to come to Seville, but I’ve begun to realize that being able to spend time in your own city abroad is much cooler.

The past 4 weekends I’ve been traveling outside of Seville to some amazing new places. While I definitely have missed Seville during my time away, I’ve also had some great experiences. In Granada I was able to enjoy tons of free tapas, walk down the Sierra Nevada mountains, and sleep in a hostel. In Morocco (truly the experience of a lifetime) I took a ferry over the Strait of Gibraltar, rode a camel, tried on traditional Moroccan dresses, walked around Chefchaouen, and learned a few words in Arabic (would love love love to learn more someday!).

Our host mom in Morocco

Our host mom in Morocco let us try on her traditional Moroccan dresses.

In Barcelona I walked around las Ramblas, swam in the Mediterranean, and ran a marathon. While all of these experiences and sight-seeing opportunities have been wonderful, I think the best part of studying abroad is the opportunity to live in a European city.

Carla after running

After completing the Barcelona Marathon this March.

In all of the different cities I’ve traveled to, most of my friends and I walk around and plan to go to the major tourist attractions. Going to Barcelona, I had to see the Sagrada Familia. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was obvious. While I definitely think this is important to do, these aren’t the main things I’ll look back at from my time abroad and appreciate the most. Spending two or three days in each of these cities, all I have time to do is see the major tourist attractions. I’m able to say that I’ve seen the Alhambra, but experiencing the culture in each of these different cities is much more different. Most of the things I’m able to do in other cities is superficial. For that reason, I’m glad I’ve enjoyed my time spent at “home” in Seville. Most of the things I’ll remember most about being abroad will be things I did in Seville – getting drinks along the river, living in the dorms, and time spend with all of my friends. In the future, I hope to return to Europe and see places I’m not going to be able to visit (super bummed that Greece isn’t going to happen), but I don’t think I’ll ever have the opportunity to live in Europe for an extended period of time again.

The past couple months living in Seville, I’ve become comfortable and accustomed to the lifestyle and people and weather and all the aspects of the city. I’ve seen el Alcázar and Plaza de España (Seville’s major tourist attractions), but I’ve also been able to understand the city on a deeper level. With the weather warming up, and Semana Santa (holy week celebrations) and Feria (Seville’s weeklong festival along the river) coming up, I’m excited for all the time I have left to experience living in such an extraordinary city!

Seville

View all posts by Carla

Katie Bosler

It’s hard to admit that I have just about a month left living in Barcelona. As I write this I can’t stop thinking to myself, where exactly DID the time go? I had been warned by many study-abroad alums that the time would fly by. With trips, classes and many visits from friends studying abroad elsewhere, my four-day school week goes by in a blink of an eye.

It became clear very early on in the semester that traveling to other cities, whether throughout Spain, or across Europe, would become almost an obsession. When I first arrived I looked at a four-month window and thought there was more than enough time to visit all of the countries and places I had researched in the fall. As it turns out, one never has enough time to see all of Europe’s magical destinations.

The ability to travel almost anywhere within Europe with relative ease has allowed me to jet-set off almost every weekend. Though having only a few days in each city is never enough, packing your days with as much sightseeing as you can is worth it. This is probably what I love the most about this semester—getting to live in an incredible city yet at the same time exploring Europe from head-to-toe. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

Of the magical places I have visited, my absolute favorites have been:  Paris, Rome, and Interlaken.

Paris

Paris was my first journey outside of Spain. The historical and cultural influence that surrounds the city is incredible. The French and Medieval collaboration make the city’s architecture unique to anything I’ve seen in Europe. Among my favorite spots were the Palace of Versailles and its gardens, the Louvre, and the cathedral of Notre Dame, all breathtaking.

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

One of the highlights of our trip was unexpectedly seeing the Eiffel Tour light up at night. We just happened to arrive at 7:00 PM, when the entire tower became illuminated with flickering lights. It lasted just a few moments and it was beautiful. To end our trip, we dined at one of the most famous steak and fries restaurants in Paris, Le Relais de Venis. For the price of 28 euro, we were able to eat an unlimited amount of the best steak we had ever tasted. An added bonus was that it was topped with an amazing, secret béarnaise sauce which has never been disclosed to the public.

Rome

I was lucky enough to travel to Rome with my parents. I can’t decide if I enjoyed seeing the sights of Rome or eating the food there more. Both were incredible experiences. The ancient ruins, the Colosseum, and the Vatican were my favorite stops during two action-packed days. Being able to walk among the ruins, with several parts of the old city still standing and intact, was an experience like no other.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

Remnants of the Roman forum

Remnants of the Roman forum

The Italian cuisine was everything that I had imagined and more. While I consider pasta one of my most favorite foods, we were able to do a good job of balancing meat, pasta, veggies and dessert throughout each meal. Our waiters would explain that was the only way to dine. The veal, salted ham, and traditional spaghetti dishes were my favorite of the trip.

Interlaken

Interlaken, Switzerland is truly a winter wonderland. I had the incredible opportunity to go skiing for the first time there. Simply being in the Swiss Alps was enough for me to fall in love with the view. But being able to ski there made for a day I will never forget. I was able to master ski school with relative ease and quickly moved on to the more difficult slopes. The picturesque mountains that surrounded me made me feel as if I was in the middle of a postcard.

The lakes are also beautiful and it is easy to see why Interlaken is one of the world’s best vacation destinations for a sports holiday. In addition to the skiing, the area is ideal for hiking, kayaking, paragliding and many other outdoor adventures. It’s the perfect destination to do some “bucket list”, one-in-a-lifetime activities!

Swiss alps

My view of the Swiss Alps while skiing

My travels throughout Europe have deeply broadened my understanding of the continent’s importance and its historical and cultural impact on the rest of the world. I have learned so much about the people and their unique lifestyles. Growing up in Indiana, the thought of traveling internationally seemed more like a wish than a possibility. Studying abroad has given me the access and ability to visit places I had only dreamed about. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I look forward to squeezing in the remaining getaways I have left.

View all posts by Katie

Erik Trautman

Yesterday wasn’t a typical day by any means, but I believe it well represents the development I’ve undergone from a first semester student to full-academic year student. The first I noticed of this development occurred during breakfast. I had plans to explore a new pasticcheria (pastry shop). My breakfast food supply was very limited due to my upcoming trip. I buckled, however, to the familiarity of my usual café, Fram. I was pleased to see there were still chocolate cornetti (like a croissant), which I had with the usual café macchiato. I gulped down my breakfast in a hurry because I was headed to the BSCP office to catch a word with the director, who is often busy during the afternoon. My favorite barista was working and although I see her nearly everyday I didn’t know her name. As I waited in line at the register I worked up the courage to ask her. “Benni,” she said, “and yours?”

I stopped by the Pam grocery store on my way to the office to pick up some honey flavored lozenges for my sore throat. Antonio, a cashier I had come to know, was working the register. I asked him how thing were going while checking out. While I still have trouble deciphering his thick Sicilian accent I made out something about back pains and a desire to travel in my luggage with me on my return to America. Then I was off through the back alleyways of Bologna I could now navigate with my face down in my Ipod. As I crossed through Piazza Maggiore I heard an African-sounding voice calling after me “mister!” I ignored it at first but then felt guilty and turned by head. He had a hand-full of books in one hand with the other gloved hand raised for an embrace. I told him I had already bought a book of poems from Senegal that has sat on my desk untouched all year-long, gave him a hand-full of throat lozenges and was on my way.

By the time I arrived at the BSCP office a little bit after ten, it was too late. An office full of teachers from universities across the US already occupied Professor Ricci’s office, buzzing about their experiences in Italy thus far. I waited in the main room. I hadn’t been to the BCSP office in months since all my classes this semester are through the university of Bologna. I chatted a bit with Paolo, my language teacher from last semester, joking about how our class was irreplaceable. A few spring semester students sat at the computers, tapping away at the keyboards, a few more filtered into Paolo’s classroom. I didn’t recognize any of them. I felt like an outsider in the office where I often saw my American friends last semester. I sat by the desk of the program’s administrator, Daniele. I chit-chatted a bit with her and Lorena, the office assistant, and eventually had a chance to thank professor Ricci for the recommendation letter he wrote for me that resulted in my acceptance in a teach English abroad program. Then I left the office to go home for lunch. On the way home I saw the old accordion player I would pass every other morning last semester. Needless to say it had been months since I’d seen him but I dropped some change into the hat that laid on the sidewalk in front of him and he gave me the usual nod as if I hadn’t missed a day.

I made a typical Italian lunch around two o’clock. Pasta with tomato paste (you don’t buy pre-made sauce) datterini tomatoes, onions, tuna, capers, with an American touch, bell pepper. Around four o’clock I went to pick up the kids at the International school for my babysitting job. I walked home with them and, as usual, had to bribe them to do their English homework with the promise to play wrestling, which consists of me tossing them back on Francesco’s bed while they try to take me down as a team, they always win. Around half past six my boss, Silvia, came home and I walked back to my house, taking the shortcut my roommates had taught me. I reflected on how things had changed this semester. I had grown familiar with faces and places around Bologna. I now recognized people who have the same routine. They take the same bus lines; they go to the same supermarkets and cafés. What was once familiar to me had become alien and vice versa. I had a long trip to Ireland coming up, but I realized that day that I had changed. I fit the mold now and had become one of those recognizable faces and when I return it wouldn’t at all be like before but like returning home again, and with that the Italian word for the day is abituato — literally “habituated” or “used to.”

View all posts by Erik

Sarah Whaley

Last week was the end of the honeymoon phase of my exchange program in Adelaide. Before last week, my days consisted of shopping, exploring and partying in the city. It felt more like a holiday (vacation) than a study experience. Then, classes began at Uni and I have to admit I felt a bit shell-shocked. I hadn’t done anything related to school since December. I’d had no academic readings to complete, no lectures to attend and no online content to continuously check (except for Facebook, of course).  I felt assaulted by the sudden amount of work and embarrassed by the inadequacy of my preparations and organization.

150317a

Braving a smile for the first day of Uni.

 

Then, after making it reasonably successfully through the first two days of classes, I panicked and left class early on Wednesday. I left class early because the bites I’d woken up with on my legs that morning and the day before could no longer be ignored. My worst nightmare about Australia was unfolding before me: mysterious bites from an unknown creature that appeared red, angry and swollen. One bite had a red tail trailing off to one side. I made essentially the worst decision I could have made and Googled the bites during class. Top results were 1) poisonous spiders and 2) infection. I immediately excused myself from the room and went in search of the nearest doctor.

insect bites on leg

Convinced death from bites is imminent.

University of Adelaide is a smaller university than IU, so you’d think they would have walk-in doctors appointments, but that turned out not to be the case. The lady behind the counter wouldn’t even look at my bites, and her advice was to call the next day a 9 a.m. to see if there had been any appointment cancellations. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to see me until Monday. Next I tried the Dean at my residence, St Mark’s College. Her advice was to see one of the sixth year medical students at the college, but he was nowhere to be found. So I asked my friend Daniel to walk with me up the street into North Adelaide to find a chemist (pharmacist).

The chemist was kind, but when she came around from behind the counter to look at my bites, all of her professionalism disappeared. She gasped and put a hand to her mouth, then brought it down to say, “I think you need to see a doctor.” Exhausted from my earlier attempts at finding a doctor, I fought the urge to cry as I asked where walk-in appointments might be available. She gave me the addresses of two places, both outside of walking distance from St Mark’s. When I left the shop, I finally burst into the sobs I’d been holding back. I had no car and felt intimidated by the public transportation. I wanted to give up and, more than anything, to call my parents. I couldn’t do the latter and Daniel wouldn’t let me do the former, so he found someone from the college to drive us to Prospect Medical Centre.

My walk-in consultation was free, but the downside was Daniel and I had to sit waiting for hours. When they called me back after the first hour, I was excited. Finally. But all that happened was a lady who didn’t appear to be a doctor took a look at my bites, confirmed how terrible they looked and told me she’d put me on the waiting list for a walk-in appointment. I sat waiting for another hour and a half before seeing an actual doctor who told me the bites were likely from a mozzie (mosquito) and I was just having an exceptionally bad reaction to them. He prescribed me $45 worth of antibiotics, antihistamines and steroid cream.

Sarah and friend Daniel smiling

Daniel and I excited to be waiting for hours.

The next few days were hazy, both from the medication and a sudden onset of homesickness. I grew impatient with my friends in Adelaide and started intensely missing friends back home who had known me for longer than three weeks. I was easily irritable and moody and left two parties without saying goodbyes. One night I sat outside alone for more than two hours watching a light show on the theater that was part of the Adelaide Festival. When I looked up to see the stars and the moon glowing brightly in the sky, I was suddenly struck by the fact no one in Indiana could share the view with me because it was daytime there. I felt immediately far away and incredibly alone.

patterned light splashing on rooftop

Light show on the Adelaide Festival Centre.

Saturday night after leaving the second party of the weekend, I messaged my friend Ameen to tell him what a terrible time I was having. He suggested I make a trip out into the Adelaide suburbs to see him and his roommate, Ahmed. It was quieter there, he said, and I would enjoy the bus ride on the O-Bahn, a special track for buses leading from Adelaide to Tea Tree Gully. I hesitated once again out of fear of public transportation, but decided I needed to grow up and take a risk. After all, my own attempts at lifting my mood had been rather fruitless.

Sunday evening I hopped on a bus and took the O-Bahn out to see Ameen and Ahmed. It was a wonderful one-night break from the city. We took it easy, watching Australian comedians on YouTube and shows on TV. Then in the morning I woke up to the sound of birds and even the sound of a short rain. The rain cleared and we took a walk through the suburbs to grab some lunch. My spirits rose from the darkest of places to soaring heights. The beauty of the suburbs was consuming, with the hills so close by and the houses and fences a patchwork of reds, yellows and oranges. As Ameen cleaned the kitchen and I waited to catch a bus back into the city, I breathed in the fresh air coming from the open window and felt the most relaxed I’d been since my arrival in Australia. The suburbs of Adelaide felt like home.

The beautiful suburbs outside of Adelaide felt like home.

The beautiful suburbs outside of Adelaide felt like home.

I carried my refreshed mind and heart back into the city and everything felt lighter. The weather was perfect and I wandered slowly through Rundle Mall and across the River Torrens back to St Mark’s. I finished the last of my medication after dinner and saw that the marks from my bites were disappearing. I went and saw my second show at the Adelaide Fringe Festival that night and took a new path home to see all the lights and special art displays of Blinc (part of the Adelaide Festival) along the river.

a Blinc installation on the River Torrens

One of the Blinc installations on the River Torrens.

Though the second week of classes has now begun and I’m already playing catch-up on readings, I’m no longer feeling homesick and I feel more equipped for what’s yet to come this semester. Now I know the next time I feel like giving up I just have to keep going. And even though I’ve only known my friends here for three weeks, I can trust they’ll always be there to lift me up when I’m feeling down.

Sarah with friend Ameen

Ameen and I relaxing on the Barr Smith Lawns at Uni.

View all posts by Sarah

Katie Bosler

Those who live outside of Spain tend to think the word Barca (pronounced barce-uh) is an abbreviation for the second largest city in Spain, Barcelona. For those of us studying here, it became clear very quickly that Barca was not a nickname for the city, but for its world-class fútbol (European soccer) club, FC Barcelona.

If you ask the fans here, following FC Barcelona is similar to practicing a religion. Locals who do not support them are basically shunned-it’s that serious. These Spaniards eat, sleep, and breathe fútbol. On match day you will find 99,000 rabid fans watching the game live at the incredible Camp Nou stadium. The arena is the largest in Europe. Those unable to secure a ticket view the game at a bar with friends or watching at home glued to the TV with family.

Camp Nou

The biggest fútbol stadium in Europe, Camp Nou

FC Barcelona’s motto is “mes que un club” (more than just a club.) It represents something bigger than athletics – it represents Catalan independence. Barcelona is one of the four coastal regions that make up Catalunya, the Catalan nation that has struggled to find independence from the rest of Spain for years. From the 1920’s under Miguel Primo de Rivera’s rule to the severe fascist ruling of dictator Franco, the Catalan culture and specifically its team, Barca, have been severally oppressed.

After Spain’s switch to democracy, Barca has grown to represent not only Catalan independence, but important life values ​​as well. These five key values include ​​Respect, Effort, Teamwork, Humility, and Ambition. Barca and its fans take pride in the fact that the way they play fútbol is not only inspiring the world in the athletic sense but morally as well.

Barca can credit its amazing history of feats on the field to its long list of world-class players. The current stars are Lionel Messi, Louis Suarez, Neymar Jr. and Gerard Pique, to name a few. Messi, 34, has been charted as the best player in the world for quite some time. To Barca fans, Messi is a god, and he is the key component of the on and off field success of Barca’s current team.

Lionel Messi

Barca’s superstar forward, Lionel Messi

Venturing into Camp Nou for the first time was a life changing experience. I thought I was prepared for the intense atmosphere and the insane fans, but the game and the venue itself had no comparison to American football or basketball on any level. I got to my seat an hour before kickoff, and the cheering and drums heard from all sections of the stadium had already started- they would not stop until the last second ticked off of the scoreboard.

 

Rowdy crowd

The rowdiest cheering section, right behind Barca’s goal

After attending a Barca match, it’s a bit funny to think about how sports fans in the US refer to themselves as dedicated or obsessed. Merely spending a week in Europe would be enough to realize that our fan followings are far too limited to compete with the addiction that fútbol is here. If we want to consider ourselves avid fans, we need to take some advice from the fans of FC Barcelona.

My roommate and I at the game

My roommate, Megan & I at the Barca vs. Levante game

View all posts by Katie

Sarah Whaley

I am in love with Australia: the people, the weather, the places and everything in between. Though only a week has passed since my arrival, I already see myself returning. And every time someone mentions I only have 5 months left, I cringe. While I love my friends and family back home, I have yet to feel homesick once. It’s a bit overwhelming trying to satisfyingly summarize this past week of sunny days, but I will do my best by breaking it down to the simplest reasons Australia has taken my heart captive (insert “country colonized by convicts” joke here).

Reason #1: The People

I was told before boarding my first plane I was headed to the land of some of the kindest people in the world. While the thought was comforting, it wasn’t reality until my second plane hit the pavement in Melbourne. While waiting for my connecting flight to Adelaide, I met some native Adelaidians who eagerly shared everything I should do and see in the city. Then on the flight I sat next to an older couple who adopted me for a couple of hours and helped me into the airport, where I was greeted by two peers from St Mark’s College, the residential college I am staying at throughout my exchange program. A fro co (frozen Coke) from Macca’s (McDonald’s) and a night of games later, I had made my first friends. No need to have been so worried.

Even those I would not necessarily consider friends, such as the lady who set me up with a Westpac bank account, are unforgivably friendly. (“Unforgivably” because it’s nearly impossible to return their favors.) They say the Midwest is one of the friendliest parts of America, but we have nothing on the Aussies. They don’t just point you to where you need to go when you ask for directions, they walk you there. Now I think about it, I have yet to see an Aussie mad (except in jest). And that’s another thing. They all have a brilliant sense of humor and a resilience you wouldn’t expect in a county supposedly always trying to kill you with wildlife and riptides.

Not only are the locals amazing and full of stories, but being an international student has thrown me into a mix of people from all corners of the world. My tightest group of friends here met during international orientation week by a series of introductions to friends of friends. Now I’m regularly hanging out with friends from Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Chile, France, Lebanon and Egypt. Perhaps our similar situation of being students in a new country drove us together so quickly, but I already wouldn’t trade a single one of them for the world. Plans are already being made for traveling together and making home visits once the semester is over.

my international friends

Some international friends and I.

Reason #2: The Weather

If the people weren’t enough to get me out of bed with a smile every morning, the weather would be my motivation. Though a couple of days have been incredibly hot (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), I am loath to complain. Especially since my friends and family back home have been sending me shots of snow. I do not miss it and if I had a choice I would never return to it. My body was built for warmth and my mood was designed for sunshine. Here, I have plenty of both. They weren’t kidding when they said Adelaide is the driest Australian city either. The other day it rained for about five seconds. Though I’ve been told Adelaide can get cool in the winter, I am certain I will be the American out and about in short sleeves. I am also certain the Aussies will still be wearing thongs (flip-flops).

Adelaide from the air

Adelaide from the air.

Reason #3: The Places

This section is better told in pictures than in words:

My first impression of my new home was my room at St Mark’s. A queen size bed, two-story tall ceilings and a fireplace were waiting for me. The rest of the residential campus is beautiful too: the lawns are large, the buildings are old and architecturally interesting and the flora are labeled in case you’re interested in knowing their names.

my spacious living quarters

My spacious living quarters.

I didn’t get to see the city until the first day, but as cliché as it sounds the first glimpse took my breath away. Though the city of Adelaide is large and reasonably busy, the streets and parks are also large which helps the whole place breathe. The public transportation is easy, and from my location nearly everything is within walking distance. The walks are not dull either, but colored by the River Torrens, the numerous sculptures that hint at the artistic bent of the city and the birds (only found in zoos at home).

first glimpse of the city

First glimpse of the city.

If the city was breathtaking it was nothing compared to the campus of Uni (University of Adelaide). IU is comparably beautiful, but not quite as full of waterfalls and bridges covered in locks left by hopeful lovers. It is unreal thinking I will be taking classes there and eating lunch on the lawns in a week.

enjoying green space

Enjoying the campus green spaces.

One of the seasonal highlights here is the Adelaide Fringe and the accompanying Garden of Unearthly Delights. The festival celebrates non-traditional arts, and the Garden is full of food and drink vendors and shows. I even braved one of the pop-up fair rides with a little bit of cider courage, then spent the rest of the night laughing with my international friends as we took up three benches under the light-strung trees.

Garden of Unearthly Delights

The Garden of Unearthly Delights.

Before I left for Australia, I swore I wasn’t going to touch the water. Instead I ate my words the third day and dove into the Gulf St Vincent off of Glenelg Beach. The salt stung my eyes only at first and the water was pleasant, but everyone kept looking out for sharks. Adelaide is fairly safe from shark-traffic compared to Sydney or Melbourne, but even a dolphin fin would have had us out of the water in seconds.

Glenelg Beach at sunset

Glenelg Beach at sunset.

During a break in the international orientation schedule, a few friends and I grabbed our cameras and headed to the Botanic Gardens of South Australia. A better decision has never been made. But you’ll have to see for yourself.

Flower at botanical gardens.

A small taste of the beauty.

This is my walk to and from Uni every day. Enough said.

River Torrens

Walk along the River Torrens.

Reason #4: Everything in Between

By now I hope it’s understood why I never want to leave. But just in case someone is in need of a few more reasons: Tim Tams, Chupa Chups lollipops, the barby (barbecue), field trips to Victor Harbor, the sincerity of “no worries, mate” and this photo.

Me with a kangaroo

Kangaroo selfie.

View all posts by Sarah

Carla Sraders

Four years ago, when my sister was studying abroad in Spain, my family flew 4,000 miles across the Atlantic to visit her in Toledo. While I was very excited to see my sister, there were obviously a ton of other things I wanted to see, eat, watch, and experience during my trip. Above the Alcázar, Parc Güell, el Prado, and Sagrada Familia… I wanted to go to a Real Madrid game. Having played soccer almost all of my life, I’ve always enjoyed watching it. So when my dad and I found out there was a Real Madrid home game during our time in Spain, we immediately bought tickets.

After a delayed flight, lost luggage, and a lot of confusion getting to Madrid, we mixed up the days of the game. Sitting in our hotel room on Saturday night, we checked to make sure we were ready for the game we thought kicked off Sunday at 6 pm. Dumbfounded, we realized the game was actually happening at that moment. My dad, little brother, and I ran out of the hotel, on the metro, and onward towards Santiago Bernabéu. Getting into the stadium around the 90th minute, everyone was leaving as we finally arrived. Not only did we lose over 200 euros and the chance to see a game, but Real Madrid had lost the game 1-0 – their first lost at home during 2011.

Now, 4 years later, I’m studying abroad in a city less than 3 hours away from Madrid via AVE train. I knew I’d have to return to Santiago Bernabéu before I came back to the United States. I was finally going to see a Real Madrid game.

outside Santiago Bernabéu

Outside of Santiago Bernabéu on Valentine’s Day, 2015.

While I’ve been fortunate enough to attend NBA, MLB, and NFL games in my life, I’ve never had an experience quite like the game in Madrid. The entire 81,000 person stadium was electric. While my friends and I sat in the nosebleeds at the very top of the stadium, there wasn’t a single person around us that wasn’t completely invested in the game. Every free kick from Ronaldo, breakaway from Gareth Bale, and miraculous save from Casillias left the entire stadium breathless.

In Madrid for three days I was able to go back and see the museums, Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, and many other touristy things, but I don’t think many other experiences abroad will compare to the Real Madrid game. You’re not only sight-seeing or looking at the culture from afar, you’re actually part of it.

Here’s a video of my time spent in Madrid. (Pretty happy to say I caught Isco’s goal on camera!)

View all posts by Carla

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 268 other followers

%d bloggers like this: