Portugal, Sevilla, and a hike!

September 21st, 2011 by mbuonopane

These last few weeks have been a blur. Each day held something new. I’ll start with last weekend. Sunday we went on what was supposed to be a seven mile hike. However, it ended up being closer to ten. Not that I minded, I haven’t seen one thing in Spain that wasn’t beautiful. Our Spanish guides pointed out many things to us. There were berries which are apparently alcoholic as well as many pig farms. Our guides explained to us how the Italian Mafia will often use pigs to dispose of bodies, lovely!


At one point after climbing for what seemed like hours, we reached a beautiful clearing where we took a rest. 

Last week’s classes were very enlightening. I’ve always had an interest in international business and investment. They’re interesting topics on their own, but there’s lots of money in them. That’s partially why I’m a business major! For those interested in the world of business, studying abroad would be of enormous benefit. I could write a novel about the benefits of studying abroad and I’ve only been abroad for one month! Anyway, I’ve enjoyed my classes tremendously so far, and I’m learning Spanish at a surprisingly quick pace. I underestimated how fun it is to learn another language. It may difficult, but you gain the ability to communicate with an entirely new culture. It’s an eye opening experience especially for someone from a sheltered upbringing such as myself.

The highlight of my last few weeks was my weekend in Lagos, Portugal. Our friends at DiscoverSevilla booked and planned this trip. Where do I begin…

I think I remember a moment during our trip where I literally thought to myself  “Studying abroad may have been the best decision I’ve ever made.” It was during a cruise off the coast of Lagos. I had just dived off the side of the boat in the emerald ocean water. I looked around. On my right was a tranquil grotto nestled in some caves, and on my left was the ship with my CIEE friends…  The next day we traveled to a place called “The End of The World.” The location was named so because it’s located on a cliff on the Western coast of Portugal. Looking out over the ocean, people once thought that this was it. If you went too far you would simply fall off the side of the world and hurdle through nothingness forever.

The next day was spent relaxing at a beach in Lagos. Before the bus ride back we went into town and enjoyed the finest food Portugal had to offer. Normally at the end of such an amazing weekend I would be depressed that it was over.  However, this weekend I did not feel this way.  I was returning back to Sevilla, which I have quickly learned to call home.

 

Bienvenido

September 13th, 2011 by edragon

Hello UNE!  This is Matt Buonopane blogging from Spain where I am studying abroad with 7 other UNE students on the UNE Semester in Seville program. I love Spain!! I can honestly say that my first two weeks in Spain have been the most fun and enriching weeks of my life. Good thing I still have an entire semester! I want my first blog entry to summarize everything I’ve experienced since I’ve arrived, but explaining just how amazing Seville is will be quite a daunting task. That being said, I’ll do my best to describe just how much fun I’ve had. When Alison Yuen, Colin Longhurst and I first arrived we needed to hit the ground running. Alison and I met Colin by chance in the Munich, Germany airport. All three of us were bursting with excitement and anticipation. I like the way Alison described it. “Matt, you know we’re about to begin an epic journey, right?!” It hadn’t hit me yet, but we really were about begin possibly the coolest four months of our lives. The three of us were dropped off by our taxi at the Hotel Becquer. To break the ice our CIEE guides took our entire group (fifty-something people from all over the U.S.) out for drinks at Calle Betiz, one of the nightlife hotspots of Seville. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the others in our program would quickly become my family and some the coolest people I’d ever met. There hasn’t been a dull moment so far, but some of my highlights include a beach trip to Jerez, wine tasting at the Tio Pepe Winery (http://www.bodegastiopepe.com/), a tour of the Cathedral of Seville (http://www.catedraldesevilla.es/) and getting hopelessly lost in Seville’s architecture. Moments I’ve shared with my host family, the food and the day to day routine deserve their own separate blog entries. I’ll be regularly updating so keep reading. I’m not even quite sure what to expect but I’m eagerly awaiting what Spain has to offer!!

I’ve made a short video which shows some cool parts of the town where we spend a lot of our time.  At the end is a brief interview with some friends from our program.

 

Many more photos can be found at http://s1179.photobucket.com/home/mbuonopane1