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July 5, 2007

ULM students return from summer study trip to Spain

ULM students traveled to Spain this summer accompanied by Christian Rubio, assistant professor, and Bryan Butler, instructor, in the foreign languages department.

On June 8, twenty students departed from various parts of the United States for Spain. After a long journey, students were placed with families throughout Madrid. They attended classes at Enforex, the major Spanish language institute which offers instruction to students throughout the world. Students were immersed in the language and were able to work on their communication skills, putting into practice what they learned in the classroom. They had a great opportunity to listen to native speakers; according to Nicole Morgan of Bastrop, “I liked the teachers at Enforex.”

In Madrid, students were able to visit different places, including El Museo del Prado. Andrea Rawls of Bastrop said, “I really liked El Prado, the paintings were fantastic.” They also visited the Royal Palace, and many of the students were impressed by its magnificent architecture.

Others took advantage of the proximity of other cities and went to Segovia, a city outside of Madrid named a Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations. Jennifer Price of West Monroe said that Segovia was one of the highlights of her visit in Spain. She also said that she truly enjoyed the visit to the Alcazar (a castle made to defend the city); the Cathedral of Segovia, one of the few gothic churches left in the world; and the Roman Aqueduct.

On June 16, the group departed for Barcelona for the second week of the trip. In contrast to Madrid, Barcelona is a more European city. It hosted the Olympics in 1992, and one can see the modern buildings along with the well-known modernist architecture by Antonio Gaudi.

The students took a walking city tour, arranged by Enforex, and they visited the Gothic town of Barcelona. Some of the students were able to see the Parc Guell, a place resplendent with modern art, including its benches. Lydia Head of Tioga stated that it was her favorite part of Barcelona. Many of the ULM students also visited the beaches. Kendell Harris of Monroe said that it was a privilege to say that he swam in the Mediterranean Sea.

On June 23 the group took a trip to Andorra, a European independent state. The drive took them through impressive sights, capped by a beautiful view of the Pyrenees, where Andorra is located. The students were able to shop in various places before returning to Barcelona. That night, the city celebrated the day of San Juan, a celebration that many people call “the longest night in Barcelona.” There were fireworks throughout the night, and some students went to the beach, where the main celebration took place.

ULM students departed for the United States on June 24. Some were looking forward to seeing their loved ones, while others wanted to stay longer. Kanna Shepherd of Lake Providence said, “I wish I had more time there, but I definitely want to go back one day.” Others, such as Becky Buchannan of Roll, Ariz., said they want to experience more and have inquired about opportunities to teach English in Spain, a program sponsored by the Department of Education of Spain.

As Christa Wade of Farmerville concluded, ”My experiences with the Study Abroad program have been invaluable to my education…I feel that studying abroad allows you to experience the culture of the country and interact with the people on a more personal level. I was fortunate enough to complete the Culture and Civilization of Spain course at ULM before going to Spain…Being able to visit places and see things that I had studied about helped to reinforce and enhance what I learned in class. Reading about and seeing a copy of a certain work of art allowed me to draw a picture in my head of what I thought it would look like, but it did not compare with seeing it in person and experiencing the textures and vibrant colors, as well as the sheer size of some of the paintings.”

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