Summer Abroad / by Carl Fonticella

This summer I will be living in Europe for two months through the study abroad organization AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study) where I will be studying at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain. I'll also be traveling to London, Morocco and hopefully another country in Europe during one of our free weekends. This blog will be dedicated to me updated my travels and sharing my experiences!

Well, it's been 22 days since I've arrived in Europe and this is my first blog post, so be prepared for a LOT of information. To begin my time in Europe, I spent two days in London, England. This was my second time there and I once again loved every second and got to experience things I didn't get to do the first time, such as ride the London Eye and go to Camden Town to meet up with a friend from college. Even though I knew that Spain was next on my trip, I wished that I could have spent more time there, but thankfully I am absolutely loving Granada.

I'm staying with a host family here in Spain, but it's a bit different than what I expected going into the trip. My host family consists of my "mom", Conchita, and her daughter Maria who is probably 10 years older than me. Both are vegetarian (something uncommon here in Europe) and both practice yoga and do meditation everyday after dinner. Both are extremely kind and open and love to engage in conversation with me about any topic. One thing we always do is watch TV during lunch and dinner; in Spain, these meals are more traditionally known as a slow process filled with family bonding and conversation, but in mine we watch Modern Family at lunch and either Friends or a movie at dinner. What I enjoy about this is that although there are English subtitles in both, I learn Spanish words and phrases, and since sometimes the punchline in the joke requires something to be read in English, I help my family out in learning English.

In our short time here we've already seen a bunch of cultural and historical gems, such as the Alhambra here in Granada, as well as the districts of Sacromonte (gypsy quarter in Granada) and the Albayzín. We've also traveled to Nerja on the Costa del Sol, and this past weekend went to Sevilla and Córdoba. We've seen cathedrals and mosques in Sevilla and Córdoba that date back more about a thousand years before the American Revolutionary War, and seeing how old artifacts are really puts American history into perspective.

I'll be trying my hardest to keep things up to date here, and also keep on updating my photo gallery with my best photos from my travels. This weekend we go to Morocco for three days so be prepared for a post about that!

Happy Blogging!