Well, it has almost been a month in Alicante! I can't believe how fast time is flying! I have been doing so much around the Province of Alicante, taking an intensive language class at the CIEE study center, and learning the ins and outs of the city and culture. Also, I must add, I am skipping my siesta to write this.
Today, I started my normal classes. I am taking a Women's Literature class, a Spain Pop Culture class, a Film and Lit class, and a Latin American Lit class (SO MANY LIT CLASSES). So far, I like my teachers and the subjects will definitely be interesting. The CIEE Study center is really nice! It is very modern looking. The staff is super helpful and they always keep us informed with things going on in the city for the week. Additionally, they offer classes that we can take as well such as Salsa Dancing or cooking! I live in the city of Alicante, but the study center is about 20 minutes away in San Vicente. Everyday, I take the local tram system to and from class. It is really easy to use! The tram in the morning is usually PACKED because many students who study at the University of Alicante also use the tram system.
Around the Province of Alicante, I have visited Benidorm, Calpe, and Villajoyosa. Calpe (I wrote a blog about my visit) I hiked an awesome mountain and had incredible views. This past week, I went to both Villajoyosa and Benidorm. While in Villajoyosa, my friends and I (yes, I have friends) went to a local place on the beach to eat lunch and then made our way to the Valor Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the factory, but the photos wouldn't do any justice to the smell in the factory.The tour of the factory was free and after the tour, there was free chocolate to sample! Definately worth the visit. In Benidorm, my friends and I visited the Fonts de L'Algar Waterfalls. It was so peaceful walking through and seeing all the waterfalls.
Last Friday, CIEE took us to Guadalest, another town outside the City of Alicante, and also to see the Busot Cuevas del Canelobre. While in Guadalest, we saw La Casa Orduña. This is a typical home of a person of wealth. It was very old and was replicated to look how it was lived in during the 1600's. Along with La Casa Orduña, the views were absolutely breathtaking. After about an hour bus ride, we made it to the Busot Cuevas del Canelobre. This cave was formed many millions of years ago and is still in fact changing very rapidly by about 1 cm every 100 years (una broma, claro)!
The Busot Cuevas del Canelobre
The Busot Cuevas del Canelobre
As much as I am immersing myself in the culture, I am finding myself miss American things a little more everyday. The thing I miss the most, more than my dog or family, is my Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee. While they have coffee here, it is not the same at all. Apparently, there is a Dunkin in Madrid and we are going with CIEE in 3 weeks so I am counting down the days. Luckily, as a gift for my host family, I brought them peanut butter so I haven't been missing that as much as much as I thought I would.
I feel like I have almost "hit a wall" with the language. While I feel my Spanish has definitely improved and my fluidity is better, there are times when I do not want to speak or hear the language. Many people say that is normal, but I am pushing through it!
As for traveling outside of Alicante, I basically have all my weekends booked with travel. This weekend coming up is Carnival. It is a huge festival in Alicante where everyone dresses up and there is a huge fiesta in the streets.. it is basically like Halloween times 10. The following weekend, I will be in Rome visiting my best friend Emily Murphy, a SHUdent, who is studying at John Cabot University. The following weekend, CIEE is having a trip to Madrid for the weekend...HELLO DUNKIN!!!! The last weekend of February, I am going to my #1 place I had on my list, Interlaken, Switzerland! I am so excited! The first week in March I will be going to Berlin, the second weekend in March CIEE is taking us to Granada (I will bring something back for you Professora Munday), and the weekend after that will be spent in Valencia celebrating Las Fallas! After that, i have 2 1/2 weeks of Spring break (the longest of any CIEE program). the first week of Spring Break I will be participating in the Camino del Santiago, a 60 mile walk in the North of Spain, and after that, my friends and I will be visiting Florence and Budapest! After Spring break, i will make my way to Barcelona and after that, hopefully Sevilla. As of now I have the last week in April open and the first week in May here in Alicante. The 2 places I don't think I will make it to is London and Amsterdam, but that just gives me another reason to come back!
I am so excited to see what these next 3 months have in store! Hasta Luego!
P.S... Hola.org saved my life. Hello USA Netflix!!!