Whitman Across the Globe: Madrid


Whitman Across the Globe: Madrid

headshot of Lacey Robinson

Hi everyone, my name is Lacey Robinson, and I am excited to be in Spain for my spring semester! Syracuse University has a wonderful abroad program, so I am very lucky to be able to take advantage of it during my college career. I am looking forward to taking classes that expand my understanding of the business and communication world, immersing myself in the Spanish culture, and challenging myself to grow as a person. The Syracuse Madrid Center offers student activities throughout the semester to learn more about Spanish culture, and I was able to take advantage of them just within the first week of being here! I am excited for the rest of my semester and to be able to share my abroad experience with you. ¡Hasta luego!

VLOG Wrap Up

After living here for the past three months. I have learned so much about Spain and I have fallen in love with Madrid. I have enjoyed my study abroad experience and I am thankful I was able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity offered by Syracuse University.

Through exploring the city and historical monuments, I have learned a lot about a new country history other than the United States. I have been introduced to new foods and have met amazing and unique people along the way, and taken advantage of the student activities the Syracuse Madrid program has to offer. From trips around Spain to cooking classes to walking tours, the Syracuse Madrid program has enabled me to immerse myself in Spanish culture. I've expanded my global perspective and broadened my academic learning through the classes that I have taken.

I learned about art history in Spain through museum visits with my history of art class, analyzed the differences in healthcare systems and economics, compared cultures across Europe in my psychology class and lastly, I have challenged myself by learning a new language in my Spanish class, and I have tested my knowledge every day while living in Madrid.

Studying abroad is truly an immersive experience that has helped me grow in so many different ways. If you are looking to supplement your academics at Whitman to become a more well-rounded and global student, then I recommend taking advantage of this amazing program to have the experience of a lifetime.

VLOG Week 5

Madrid has so many incredible sights to see all throughout the city. From museums to monuments to plazas to parks, Madrid has so much to offer and it is a great place to explore because of its rich history. And over the past two months, I have visited and seen so many of its beautiful landmarks.

Spain has several famous museums, three of which include the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Season. Each museum is home to beautiful artworks, just paintings and sculptures. I've been lucky enough to visit each museum with my history of art class, so I can learn about the pieces both in and outside the classroom.

The Plaza Mayor is a major public space in the heart of Madrid and it was once the center of old Madrid. Throughout the years the Plaza Mayor has been used for a variety of different purposes it was once used as a marketplace for food and other goods and was actually built during the reign of Philip III, whose statue now stands in the middle of the plaza. Spain is also known for its amazing green parks located throughout the city.

Retiro Park is the main park in Madrid and covers 350 acres of land. The park includes zoological gardens, the crystal palace - which is a glass building used for art exhibits - a lake, numerous statues of royalty and the Rosalita - the rose garden. You can even rent a boat and hang out on the lake on a sunny day.

The royal palace in Madrid used to be the official residence of the Spanish royal family. Although now it is only used for state ceremonies. The palace has 135 square meters of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms, and it is the largest functioning royal palace and the largest by floor area in Europe.

Spain is also known for its flamenco shows. Flamenco is a type of dance that originated in Spain and it is made up of singing hand  clapping shouting and toe and heel-clicking.

I have enjoyed my program in Madrid and I am glad I'm able to spend time learning and exploring outside of the classroom in order to enhance my global perspective.

VLOG Week 4

Spain has a unique culture and a rich history, but most importantly Spain has delicious food. Food is very important to the Spanish culture and Spain has a lot of amazing dishes.

One of which is the tortilla de patata, which is an omelet mixture of eggs and potatoes. It is such an iconic dish that is found at nearly every restaurant. Another dish that Spain is known for is paella. Paella is a rice dish generally served with seafood and it is originally from Valencia, which is on the east coast of Spain. Another dish is gazpacho. Gazpacho is a cold soup made from tomato, cucumber, bell pepper onion and garlic. It is widely eaten throughout Spain particularly during the hot summer since it is both refreshing and cool. Another food that Spain is known for are tapas. Tapas can be served hot or cold, and generally come along when you order a drink.

Although Spain is known for its many unique dishes, Spain is also known for its drastically different eating schedule. Typically in Spain you eat a small breakfast or desseuno. This may consist of something sweet or savory; maybe a piece of toast or a croissant, a cafe con leche or a small espresso coffee. Then comes lunch or camida. In Spain, the largest meal of the day is eaten between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. For lunch, you can typically order a menu deldia, which is offered by many restaurants for a set menu at a very reasonable price. This consists of a drink, a first course, a second course and a dessert. And it's really a great opportunity to sample some traditional Spanish food. Lastly come cena, which is dinner. Given that people normally eat a large or hot meal in the afternoon, dinner is usually fairly light and actually not eaten until around 9 p.m. or even much later.

Spain is also known for its fresh markets. Every neighborhood in Madrid has its own market where you can buy fresh foods like fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. According to most chefs, the fresh ingredients found in the capital are the best in Spain. In a lot of these farmer's markets, there are also restaurants and bars where you can join a mid-morning or afternoon snack.

Although people in Spain also shop at regular supermarkets, over the last few years these indoor markets have become a popular stomping ground for both locals and gourmets. This is because you can get amazing fresh food all in one place. Food is very important and sacred to Spain, and now after adjusting to the culture I've tried many dishes and I completely understand why. And I cannot wait to continue to try something unique with each meal.

VLOG Week 3

I chose Madrid for its amazing culture, delicious food, beautiful architecture and rich history. I've explored the city and immersed myself in Spain's capital, but I've also been lucky enough to travel around other parts of Spain.

Madrid is located in the very center of Spain, but using buses and bullet trains I visited cities all over the country. Just about an hour north of Madrid lies Segovia, a beautiful historic city known for its medieval architecture and legacy. In Segovia, there are many places to visit and see all of the town's beauty. My first stop was the aqueduct. It is one of the best-preserved elevated Roman aqueducts in the foremost symbol of Segovia. The aqueducts once transported water from the Rio Frio river and it actually runs about nine miles before arriving in the city.

We also visited the Segovia cathedral, which is a gothic-style Roman Catholic church located in the main square of the city. I have to say that my favorite site was the Alcazar Segovia, the Segovia fortress. Built on a rock for military purposes the fortress was used as residents by Alfonso VIII and many other monarchs. My favorite part was walking up to the tower of the fortress to get a view of the medieval city in all of its entirety.

While studying abroad, I have also headed towards the south of Spain to visit cities such as Cordoba and Sevilla. Cordoba is located in the south of Spain and used to be an old Roman city as well as one of the main Islamic centers during the Middle Ages. The most famous landmark in the city is the Mosque Cathedral of Cordova. The mosque was expanded three times over the course of hundreds of years and was eventually converted into a cathedral. The landmark includes the original mosque, several chapels, a lovely courtyard filled with orange trees and a bell tower. Before entering the mosque my tour group actually climbed the steps of the bell tower and we're rewarded with amazing panoramic views of Cordoba.

Sevilla is even further south in Cordoba. The town is known for its vibrant culture, narrow streets, blue skies and orange trees. In Sevilla, I visited the Real Alcazar, the royal palace of Sevilla. This palace was beautiful and had amazing gardens and architecture, and it was right across the street from the Sevilla cathedral, which is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. We also visited the Plaza De Espana, which is located in the beautiful Maria Luisa park. The Plaza De Espana is a complex half circle where the buildings are accessible by four bridges over the moat, which is representative of the ancient kingdoms of Spain.

Spain is an endless number of places to visit and I am excited to continue exploring other cities in the coming weeks. I am looking forward to experiencing new cultures all within just one country and I can't wait to show you more. But for now hasta luego!

VLOG Week 2

The Syracuse Madrid program offers a variety of classes to teach you about Spanish culture, expand your global knowledge and supplement your workload back in Syracuse. Classes are held in a great location in the northern part of the city at the International Institute.

The Institute is a beautiful building that has been home to University's abroad programs since 1950. Currently the building is shared with several other universities from the United States. The Center is a great academic environment with everything you need to complete your studies. It's surrounded by plenty of amazing cafes and restaurants, if you have a break in between class. You can also grab something to drink or eat in the cafe, in the center, which also serves as a great place to do work throughout the day. The building has classrooms, a library and an outdoor courtyard to hang out with your classmates. And the Syracuse offices are located on the second floor. There you can find any and all information on academics, student activities housing and more.

This semester I am taking classes related to Spain and Europe. All non-Spanish majors and minors are required to take a Spanish class to understand the language. In addition, I am taking a cross-cultural psychology class, an Econ class and a history of art class, where we get to visit some of the most famous art museums in Madrid. The class that relates most closely to my academics and Whitman is Econ 336 - Healthcare in Europe, A Comparative Approach. Where we learn about the similarities and differences between healthcare systems in Europe, the United States and other countries,

After my classes and spending some more time exploring the city, I typically head home to my dorm. Students can opt to live in one of several dorms or a homestay with a host family from Madrid. My dorm is close to the center and is conveniently a short walk or metro ride away. The dorm is a great place to meet students from all over the world who are studying through other abroad programs or attend school in Madrid.

I have already seen how my classes apply to my life in Madrid, outside the classroom, and I am excited to continue learning more over the next two months.

VLOG Week 1

Hi everyone! My name is Lacey Robinson and I'm currently a junior at Syracuse University, but right now, I'm actually in Madrid, Spain.

Ever since I was in high school, I always knew that I wanted to study abroad so I could gain a more global perspective. I wanted to challenge myself to understand what different cultures have to offer and to develop a new sense of independence. Traveling to a new country can be overwhelming, but the Syracuse Madrid Center offers an array of activities to help engage with your new environment and immerse yourself in the Spanish culture. The program also offers trips throughout the semester to towns within Spain, via bus and train, that is included in your program fee. During the first weekend, I was able to visit the town Toledo.

Toledo is an ancient city that sits on a beautiful hill, surrounded by a river in central Spain. The town is known for its medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments and its wall of the old city. I was lucky enough to join a group of students and was led by one of the professors that teach at the Madrid Center. Each professor is really knowledgeable about Spanish culture and is a really great resource to expand your academic learning both in and outside the classroom.

The program offered a cooking workshop at a nearby, hands-on kitchen, and students were able to learn about the history of several native dishes while preparing them as a group. Although I don't consider myself a good cook, the dishes turned out great and were absolutely delicious. This cooking workshop made me excited to travel all throughout Spain and try new foods later on throughout the semester. I've already experienced so much within just one week of being in Spain, and I am so excited to spend the rest of my semester here.

I can't wait to take you along on my journey. And I'll see you guys soon. Hasta luego!