The GoGlobal Blog

Weekend in Granada

Weekend in Granada

Last weekend, the entire USAC group went to Granada for an excursion. We left 10 am Friday and arrived in Granada at 3 pm. We had barely enough to relax and check into our hotel rooms before we were herded out the door to do a tour around the old neighborhood of Granada. We walked along the center of the city, checking out the old buildings, streets, and shops. Granada reminded me a lot of Madrid, with its ld architecture, cool weather, and city feel.  The group wandered through the historic center of Granada, called el Albaicin, checking out El Mirador de San Nicolas, which was a breathtaking view over all of Granada, and then the Calles de las Teterias, which were the sides streets filled with Moroccan tea and gift shops. Granada has a lot of Arabic influence, especially in its food, art, and architecture. After some friends and I drank Moroccan tea, which was DELICIOUS, we decided to go back to the hotel to freshen up before we checked out the night life. We went out for dinner, which were mainly drinks and tapas, and enjoyed hours of good conversation and company. It was raining quite a bit during that evening, which cut our night life short, but with an 8 am tour of the Alhambra, it was probably for the best.

After a decent hotel breakfast, we left for the Alhambra at 8 am The Alhambra  is an incredible Muslim palace and fortress complex built in 889 A.D. by the Muslims that ruled Granada. It is one of the oldest and most incredible buildings I have ever encountered. I studied the el Alhmabra in several of my art history classes, and so to actually have been able to see it, touch it, and explore it was amazing. Our tour guide went into detail about the history of its construction, its significance, and the changes that have taken place over the past thousand years, and even showed us the exact spot where Christopher Columbus asked for permission and financial aid from Queen Isabel to sail to the New World in 1492. I couldn’t help but get chills when she showed us the room. We also checked out the Nasrid Palaces, Hall of Ambassadors, Palace of the Lions, Court of the Myrtles, Hall of the Mocarabes, and the Watch Tower, which overlooked all of Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The view was absolutely breath taking, even if it was still raining. Our tour of the Alhambra ended around noon, and we had the rest of the day to wander around the city. One of my friends from Loyola, Suzanna Hart (another blogger, check her out!) is studying abroad in Granada, and so we met up and she showed me her school and favorite cafes and hang out places in Granada. It was nice seeing her, and we planned to go out together that night.

After more tapas and drinks for dinner, my friends and I decided to see a Flamenco dancing show, which is extremely popular in Granada. We went to an underground bar called Liberia and saw an hour long show of flamenco dancing. It was such a fierce and beautiful dance, and the singer was mesmerizing. Totally different from anything I had ever experienced before. Later, we met up with my friend Suzanne and went to a club on the mountain side, facing the Alhambra. It was a blast to dance and experience the Granada night life. We returned home around 4 am, went to sleep, and set back off again for Alicante at 9 am the next day. It was definitely a great weekend in Granada, and I plan to return there one day!

This weekend definitely made me realize again how incredible and rewarding studying abroad is, especially for another semester. It truly is the most rewarding experience to travel the world and immerse yourself in different cultures. Some friends and I were talking about how happy we were to be doing this and having this adventure. We talked about trips and future plans, and we got onto the subject of money. I told them that I was able to do two semesters abroad because I worked my butt off the last three years to save up money, and also because I applied to every single scholarship I could find. To my surprise, I learned that a lot of the kids in my program did the same thing. They worked during college and won scholarships through their school and outside their universities as well. Everyone had their own story to tell about how they were able to afford this trip- Anna worked at Fannie May for two years saving money, and won a scholarship from her school. Spencer worked at his school library for a year, and Paula was a hostess at a restaurant, and they both also received financial help for the trip. I honestly thought a lot of kids were using their parents money to fund their trip, but instead came to find that they too had to find different means to study abroad, and they were successful at doing so.  I hope people learn, whether it’s through reading my blog, talking to me, or doing their own research, that studying abroad, even for just one semester, is possible. You don’t have to come from an affluent family or work as many years as I did to be able to afford going abroad. There is an abundance of scholarship programs and school funded financial aid awards to encourage people to study abroad. The Gilman scholarship program, for students with Pell grants, made it possible for me to study in Spain, as well as the USAC scholarship for Alicante. I really hope people don’t give up on going abroad because of the financial shadow that seems to be lurking above. With some proper research, applying, and strong desire, anyone can study abroad. There are endless opportunities available for students to encourage them to experience this amazing adventure.

Until next time, adios amigos!


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