SBCC in Madrid: Our First Week Abroad

The SBCC Spanish Language and Culture students have been in Madrid now for nearly a month. On September 14th, student blogger Rachel Sevy shared with us her first week abroad, and all the amazing new experiences that came with it.



Today is Thursday, September 14th, marking a week since I have arrived in Madrid. I feel as though I have been here much longer because days are extended more into the night time in Spanish culture. All of us have adjusted well to the time change now. I also think everyone’s Spanish has improved. I am excited to see how much I have learned by the end of this program.

My SBCC classmates and I traveled to Toledo on Saturday along with students from other ACCENT programs. We met students from UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, USC, University of Richmond and Texas Christian University. Toledo was absolutely beautiful and left me in awe. The architecture was so detailed and breathtaking. Nothing in America can compare to the architecture in Europe, in my opinion. Of course we have European-inspired architecture, but it doesn’t come close to the real thing. We went to two catholic cathedrals, one being Iglesia de Santo Tomé. I had never been inside a cathedral so large before. The famous painting by El Greco, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, is held in a special room in this church. We also saw the Synagogue of El Transito, which is home of the Coat of Arms of Castile, a symbol of the coexistence of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Toledo during the 1300’s. We were given time to explore the town and eat lunch before we headed back to Madrid.

We started classes on Monday. I am taking Spanish Grammar, Spanish Culture, and Film Studies. I am going to my internship meeting today, and I am very excited. I will be interning at a local Spanish organization similar to Planned Parenthood. The organization is called Centro Joven de Anticoncepción y Sexualidad.

The only museum I have been to so far is Museo Nacional del Prado. It is a huge museum located in Madrid, close to Parque del Buen Retiro. The museum is two stories and is home to lots of El Greco’s paintings. Most of the artwork ranges from the 12th to 14th century, many pieces depicting Biblical stories. There was also a room dedicated to the art of Francisco de Goya, who is considered the most important Spanish painter of the late 18th and early 19th century. I also saw The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. It is a triptych (a painting consisting of 3 panels) depicting heaven, earth, and hell. The painting is full of symbolism and crazy looking figures. It is a very beautiful and interesting painting to look at.

All of the students and I have agreed that we are enjoying Madrid. There is so much to do and see, and we all appreciate the cultural differences here. The food is even better than I expected and the city is always so full of life, even late at night. Every day is a learning experience, and I am so grateful for this opportunity.~Rachel Sevy, SBCC Madrid

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The group continues their adventures, exploring Madrid and taking in the unique experiences this fascinating city has to offer! Check back with us soon — we’ll be rejoining Rachel and her classmates as they continue their Study Abroad experience!

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