Saturday, June 21, 2014

Study Abroad Spain - Valencia

After spending 2 weeks in Seville, the group traveled by train to Valencia. Upon arriving Sunday night, we met our families. My roommate Vinnie and I were assigned to an elderly woman named Maria Angeles and her 18 year old son, Fernando. We soon found out Fernando is not as we had anticipated. Fernando stands at approximately 6’5 inches, thus plays competitive basketball. Vinnie and myself befriended Fernando and even went out with Fernando and his friends Thursday night. His friends speak very little English, but were excited to have us tag along. As a result, I was forced to speak Spanish the whole night, though Spaniards were very willing to slow down and work out our linguistic differences in order to communicate.

Yesterday I did some exploring on my own andtook both a train and a bus in order to get to the “new-age Bioparc.” The Bioparc is a zoo that aims to allow animals to live in large habitats together, allowing the animals to feel more comfortable in captivity. 
Afterwards, I went to the Science Museum where I played with many exhibits intended for ages 14-16, though they proved to be very informative. Ending my week, I went to the festival of “Corpus Christi” where I managed to stand in the very front row to watch the procession go by. Different groups of all ages passed by, occasionally stopping to perform a quick dance routine. To end the day, I enjoyed my first taste of paella on the trip, ending a very cultural and exciting week in Valencia.
- John David Raad, Junior, Pre Business Administration major, Charlie Company

My latest adventure here in Spain was attending the Festival for Corpus Christi in Valencia, Spain! The feast of Corpus Christi is a Catholic Feast day that is about the Body of Christ and it's presence in the Eucharist, wine and bread during mass. This Feast is publicly celebrated in many countries around the world. Spain is one of the unique countries that celebrate this feast day publicly due to its history. Spain has a long history that has strong Roman Catholic roots. This is why there are many old churches, chapels, and cathedrals throughout the country!

The festival in Valencia takes place in front of the Cathedral in the old part of town and in the surrounding area. I walked from where I lived to the cathedral around 3:45 PM. Not long after I showed up, I saw a procession of horse drawn carriages with various statues of religious figures and ornaments mounted on them. People were beginning to take their place along the route that the procession follows around that time. Just before the procession began, there was a performance in front of the cathedral. Shortly after, the performers lead the procession of people in various costumes through that part of the city. I saw people who represented Romans, priests, and other significant people in Spain and Catholic history. Among the procession was the flag of Valencia being carried by a large group of participants. 

While all this was happening people lined the streets and the balconies of houses to watch. Needless to say, I had to get a quick education on the alleys/small streets in an effort to get to the front of the crowd to get a good view!

Many shops set tables out so that people could order food while watching the parade.(By this point I was walking for about 5 hours so I had to take advantage of the that!) 

This is one of the many experience that I have had the opportunity to enjoy while here in Spain. Since day one if the this trip I have been eager every day to do something new or just experience life here!

-Rod Lucas, Junior, Political Science major, Romeo Company

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