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Study Abroad in Spain

Sunday, 19 February: Wowed by Waffles, Enchanted by Chocolate, Surrounded by Speculoos

Hey, everyone! After delays in posting on this blog, I’m trying to catch up a bit. Thankfully, we just ended midterms here at the Fund, so I have some free time to write and – hopefully – enjoy the Carnavál festivities this weekend. Descriptions of those will have to wait until the next post, of course! In my last post, I left you all with a bit of a cliffhanger: after a fantastic weekend in Florence, I was in for un día de retos (a day of challenges). I left the […]

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Semana 6: ¡Ya está!

¡Ya está! does not have a direct translation, but it is muy sencillo or “very simple” to explain. It is the perfect phrase to use when you put the cherry on the top of an ice cream sundae or in my case start your internship and finish three midterms in the same week. I love my internship! It is exhilarating to maneuver the language barrier to discuss food science topics. I am learning poco a poco or “little by little.” My supervisor let me complete a moisture analysis assay by […]

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Sunday, 12 February: Grazie, Firenze!

Salve, tutti! You’ve reached the blog of Alex Gruber, self-professed bibliophile, Catholic fanboy, and St. Norbert College student studying abroad in Toledo, Spain, for the spring semester of 2017. For those of you who already know this information, mi dispiace (sorry)! Let’s get on with the actual blog. You may have noticed that I used Italian instead of Spanish in the title and first paragraph. That’s because I was lucky enough to travel to the incredible Italian peninsula and spend the past weekend in Firenze, or Florence as it’s known to us […]

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Semana 5: Esperar. “To hope and to wait.”

I love the verb esperar. It means to hope and to wait. Last Sunday I decided to go on an adventure and hike a trail that I had not hiked before. It is one of my new favorites! In addition to physically training for the Camino, am enjoying learning more about the context of the Camino in my class El Camino de Santiago: ayer y hoy, “The Camino to Santiago: yesterday and today.” The Camino is composed of a string of cities that lead pilgrims to Santiago. In these cities, […]

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Portugal

First off I just want to say that Portugal is an amazing place and I would honestly recommend that every one go there. This trip was pretty last minute for me, I think I only bought the tickets a week before we left but some friends invited me and they already had a place to stay so it wasn’t going to be difficult or anything. However, that Friday morning that we were leaving, I woke up around 4am and just puked for no reason, I honestly don’t know what I […]

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Madrid

Ok so this blog is basically going to be a recap of my weekend trips because nothing crazy really ever happens during the week. Also not really going to censor it, not that I would need to most likely lol but we’ll see. The second weekend here we went to Madrid on Friday morning by bus. Once we got there we stopped at a museum which was pretty cool but we stayed for a long time and a had a tour guide and after a few hours everyone was starving […]

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Semana 4: Vale la pena!, “It’s worth it”

Every day is a new adventure, a new opportunity to learn more about the Spanish culture. Vale la pena! Meet Minina. Minina is the name of my host family’s cat… and the name of all of the other cats in the street. (Minina is similar to the word kitty in the United States.) Below is a picture of my normal breakfast. My host mom makes me toast and coffee every morning! On the left is Jungle Party, my favorite type of cereal. It is an extruded wheat cereal. The nutrition label […]

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Sunday, 5 February: From Sevillana to Salamanca

Feliz martes, ¡todos! I hope this next blog post finds you doing well and experiencing your own adventures in whichever corner of our marvelous world you call home. Over the past week, I settled into the comforting routine of classes at the Fundación Ortega-Marañon (or the Fund), partook in a musical tradition from the south of Spain, journeyed to three of Spain’s multitude of historic sites, saw snow for the first time in my host country, and even went shopping (which obviously merits inclusion in this post because I did […]

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Semana 3: Si te gusta cherimoya…, “If you like cherimoya…”

I enjoyed taking two Flamenco dance classes this week!  I also learned the meaning of some slang words: Ta luego!= Hasta luego! or See you later!, Nada!= De nada! or You’re welcome! and Buenas!= Buenas días! or Good morning! Below is a picture of cherimoya, a delicious fruit that tastes like a piña colada but has a texture similar to a banana. I am becoming more accustomed to a few cultural differences like wearing my shoes inside the house,  eating la comida (lunch) at 2:00pm and la cena (dinner ) at 9:00pm, and keeping my […]

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Sunday, 29 January: Madrid – the Other MAD City

Hola, ¡todos! Espero que estén bien. In other words, I hope you all are doing well. Welcome to another entry of my experience abroad for the spring semester of 2017. The second week of classes at La Fundación Ortega-Marañon started off swimmingly. For one, I don’t have classes on Monday! In addition, this past Monday in particular, 23 January, marked the feast day of Saint Ildefonsus (San Ildefonso, in Spanish). Ildefonsus was the metropolitan bishop of Toledo in the mid-7th century who was canonized for his good life and theological […]

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Week 2: Una vista diferente, “A Different View”

Toledo has a rich history. It is easy to walk right past something that has historical significance if you do not know what you are looking for. There is a church in the valley below La Piedra that has a festival called Romería de la Virgen del Valle on May 1st, my birthday. On this day, people hike to La Piedra, eat and venerate la Virgen del Valle. Some people sleep outside on La Piedra on April 30th. I like running around Toledo, because I can exercise and explore at the same time. I […]

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Sunday, 22 January: Churros and Chocolate and Classes, Oh My!

Bienvenido, reader! Whether or not this is your first time reading my blog, I hope you find it informative, interesting, and perhaps even enjoyable. This past week, the students attending the Fundación Ortega-Marañon went through orientation on Monday and started their classes on Tuesday. First on Monday was an exam to gauge our comprehension of Spanish grammar. My scores certainly were not perfect or even close to it, but the Fund doesn’t expect perfection from students. The exams do not affect our subsequent grades but rather aid the program in […]

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Mi primer semana, “My First Week”

Last Saturday I moved to my new home for the next few months. Toledo is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage City with a history of a mix of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian cultures. Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha is the sister city of Toledo, Ohio. The picture below shows me pointing to a street that is called Calle Toledo de Ohio or “Toledo Ohio Street.” Many of the streets in Toledo are calles estrechas or “narrow streets.” For this reason, it is easy to get lost in Toledo if you do […]

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I survived! // ¡he sobrevivido! – Week 1

I survived my first week in España! Here are some of the highlights from my first few days:   Saturday Jan 14, 2017-   After traveling for 12 hours, our plane finally landed in Madrid. Groggy, but filled with excitement, my new friends and I made it to the correct buses with all of our luggage [thank God!]. Since it was 8am in Madrid (1am Minneapolis time), we had a whole day ahead of us. After a 45 minute bus ride we arrived in Toledo and were finally face to face with our […]

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Hola, ¡Toledo!

Buenas días (o noches, dependiente en cuando lees esto), ¡todos! Yep, that was Spanish: I arrived in Madrid this past Friday, 13 January and settled in Toledo the next day. On Friday, I left Mondaye Abbey with Adam, another SNC student studying in Toledo who accompanied the class at Mondaye for the week. We departed by car around 7:45 a.m. (still dark out, but much warmer than Wisconsin was at the time) for Bayeux, where we caught a train to Caen. From Caen, we took a bus to Orly Airport […]

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