Ashley Bitner is a Junior at the U of U. She participated in the Intensive Spanish language program in Oviedo, Spain in the summer of 2010.
¡Hola! I attended the Spanish language program in Oviedo, Spain this past summer. Before I left I was nervous to be headed to a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language very well. It ended up a being blast, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Being immersed in the Spanish culture through living with a Spanish family was something that was irreplaceable. I learned more in the home than anywhere else about the food, culture, and language.
One of the first things I did when I got to Oviedo was visit the Cristo statue on the top the biggest mountain around. We got a group together and walked to the outskirts of the city until we reached the bottom of the mountain, which was where we began our hike. The hike was fairly short and went through the trees. The pathway went straight up the mountain, but was beautiful all along the way. When we reached the top it was incredible because the statue towered many feet above us, and we could also see out over the entire city. The hike was so much fun and unique, because we were able to explore the scenery as we saw the sites.
One of my favorite things we did in Spain was the weekly excursion with everyone in the program. A place that really stood out to me was called Covadonga. It was high in the mountains, with a waterfall, cathedral, and an old fountain. The fountain had seven spouts we could all drink out of. We spent the afternoon up there and we were able to explore, and also take some awesome photos.
Another excursion that I loved was to Barcelona. I was able to see that city because for one weekend we were given the opportunity to choose a city in Spain that we wanted to visit. Some class members chose to rent a car and drive along the coast, others to the beach, some to Madrid. Our choice was Barcelona, and we caught a flight there. We spent a few days exploring the city. My favorite experience was when we were walking at night and found the Font Mágica. It was an enormous colorful fountain that was accompanied with music by a local band. Incredible! Barcelona was fun because we were able to see other cultural aspects of Spain and visit another region of the country.
With just a few short days left in Oviedo we were getting sad to leave, but we were able to participate in one last festival. The festivals were a very big deal in Oviedo, and the whole town would participate. The people gathered together outside the Cathedral and made an enormous bonfire. Thousands of people were given a piece of paper to write their sins on, and then they would be thrown in the fire. It was so fun because there was traditional music and dancing, and we were able to watch and participate in the annual ceremony with the town of Oviedo.
I loved being able to go to Oviedo and experience a different country and culture. There is nothing like it and I would have no hesitation going again!!!