Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Olivia Dayton: Oviedo, Spain

My name is Olivia Dayton; I had the privilege of participating in the Intensive Language Study Abroad in Oviedo, Spain. My study abroad time in Spain has been an incredible experience. When I think of the program as a whole there are so many things that made it memorable. There was joy, laughter, struggles, and more than a few tears of frustration, but I wouldn´t change anything about my time in Oviedo!

I remember clearly the moment I arrived in Oviedo and my first impressions of the city. I took a bus from Madrid to Oviedo, only 5 hours but it seemed longer because I was so excited and nervous about what I would find there. Madrid was hot, busy, and very exuberant with so much going on so I didn´t know what to expect from Oviedo. We left Madrid Sunday morning and arrived in Asturias in the evening, I remember it was foggy and suddenly the fog parted and I looked out the window and on either side of us were gorgeous hills! It was a little dreary in Oviedo but the city was clean and beautiful. The next morning my host mom walked me to the University and I was overwhelmed by Oviedo´s charm and beauty, early in the morning the streets were quiet and tranquil. The buildings were clean and bright with planter boxes on the balconies. My host mom and I walked up a narrow street and before me was the spire of the Catedral de San Jaun.  Oviedo´s Cathedral is a breathtaking sight to see. It is a magnificent work of architecture and standing before it, you find yourself in awe of its sheer beauty. I have had the privilege of being able to walk by the Cathedral every day on my way to and from school, and the sight of it never gets old. Each time I revel in its shadow and it still takes my breath away!

I have met so many great people on the program and have learned no matter where you travel, it’s the people who make the experience worthwhile. I loved going to school every day with the other students who were here and I have made some lasting friendships. I was also lucky enough to have a caring host family who cooked me amazing Spanish cuisine, and made me feel like a part of the family. One of my favorite memories with my host family was the day my host grandma told me that I was one of her grandchildren, and my host mom said I was just like a daughter to her.

I had the opportunity to travel while I was in Asturias, and I saw so many incredible things. Asturias has beautiful beaches and amazing mountains that both showcase how beautiful Northern Spain is. Asturias has a rich history that is displayed in its landscape and architecture. I visited towns with cathedrals, and others with remnants of Roman architecture, and still others with Celtic influences. One of my favorite towns that I visited was Covadunga, a beautiful town located in the Picos de Europa. The town had a church carved into the caves, a beautiful basilica, and a fountain where it is said that if you drink from each of the seven spouts you will be married in a year. Combined with the amazing views of the Picos de Europa and its rich history, Covadunga was an amazing place to visit.
I also had the chance to visit San Sebastian, a beautiful beach city in Spain, and some of the best beaches in Europe! There was such an exciting mix of people from everywhere in San Sebastian, and I was also lucky enough to learn more about the Basque culture and Basque food! The beaches in San Sebastian were amazing! Beautiful water and sand combined with views of mountains and hills and a vibrant city. 

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