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Journals from Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies

2010-03-18 Germany and Granada - more travels and adventures!

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My friends and I in front of the Brandenburg Gate

Hola otra vez! A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit Germany for 5 or 6 days with a group of friends, and it was an amazing experience! I was also able to visit Granada again, this time with CC-CS, and I was so excited to see one of my favorite Spanish cities again. The Germany trip was one that I took with a group of friends from a Christian campus ministry that I am involved with here. Its actually for Spanish students, but I was able to join and have made some good friendships through that group. Our Spain group went to Germany to visit the same ministry there in Jena and Braunschweig (two cities in the North of Germany) and to meet the students there. Our group also got to go to Berlin for a day, and we got to see the Brandenburg Gate and a few more cool sites. It was weird to see a part of really recent history up close and personal! In Jena and Braunschweig we were able to spend several days with those students on their campuses and in their homes (as the students let us stay with them), and we listened to a few speakers share about different ministry aspects. The neatest thing was that most of it was in German! I unfortunately do not speak German, but I was able to learn a few phrases, and several of the German students helped out, translating either into English for those of us from the U.S. or Spanish for those from Spain. I also volunteered to translate from English to Spanish at one point, as one of the speakers was American. What an experience! It was one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. It is difficult to hear what the speaker is saying, understand it, translate it in your head and then say it out loud, all while taking in what the speaker is continuing to say. Although he did pause to allow translations into German, it was easier for me to translate simultaneously at times so that I didnt forget what he had said. It was very challenging but also very rewarding, and I hope to better my Spanish language skills even more so that I can do it again someday! During the trip I was also hit by the reality of how useful and important English is. Even though it was technically a Spanish group visiting a German group, the language that connected the majority of the people was English. I had always heard that English was used by a lot of people in Europe, but its one thing to hear that and another to actually experience it. A lot of my Spanish friends want to practice their English with me from time to time, and I almost feel like my language is worth gold here in Spain and in Europe in general. My trip to Granada was a neat experience as well. I was glad to be able to go back there as it is beautiful and has a lot of history and culture. David and I went with a big group from CC-CS. We went to La Alhambra again (the old, very famous Moorish palace) and had the chance to go into the Cathedral and Capilla Real (Royal Chapel), which is where Ferdinand and Isabella and some of their family members are buried. I finally met a lot more of the students in my program, and it was a great trip all in all! Until next time, Sierra Stopper

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