Every year, there are a handful of Linfield students who, given the choice of going to either Ecuador or Spain, travel across the Atlantic Ocean to complete one of the requirements of the Spanish major.
This year, two Linfield students have opted for the European life while they’re away.
Junior Kiersten Hendrix chose to study in Alicante, Spain, where she attends the University of Alicante.
Not much different than Linfield, Hendrix has experienced no major change in the customs of Spaniard schooling, but has taken in the difference in size.
“College in Spain is really similar to college at Linfield,” Hendrix said. “I mean, we go to a public school here with thousands of students, so it’s more like a big university feel, but in terms of classes and whatnot, it hasn’t seemed extremely different. I don’t know enough about the schooling system to [give more details].”
Junior Jessica Calderon, who is attending Center for Cross Cultural Study, and Hendrix both agree that the hardest adjustment they both made was the difference in daily schedule.
“[In Seville,] it is very different from the U.S. in terms of when meals are and when people go to sleep,” Calderon said. “Breakfast is around 8 or 9 a.m., then lunch is at about 2 p.m. and dinner is around 9 p.m. So that means going to sleep is usually around 11 or 12.”
“Everything is just pushed back here,” Hendrix said. “Like at night, if you want to meet up with some Spaniards, they’ll probably suggest meeting up at midnight or 1 [a.m.]. And if you want to really go out to the clubs and stuff, most of them don’t even open until 3 a.m. It’s normal for Spaniards to get home on the weekends at 7 or 8 a.m.”
Another difference in daily schedule was what the Spaniards call a siesta.
“I adore siesta, but seriously almost the entire country shuts down between like 2 and 5,” Hendrix said. “I’m not kidding. Nothing is open except for the biggest department stores and a few restaurants. There’s basically nothing to do. I love it because it’s family time during [meals,] comida, and then sleepy time during siesta, but it is really bizarre that nothing is open and there’s nothing to do.”
Another difference in culture that Calderon sees is in the nightlife.
“Going out at night has been strangest for me,” Calderon said. “Everyone goes out at night, whether it is to get something to eat, get ice cream or coffee or to just walk around the city. It can be 11 or 12 at night and the streets will still be filled with people and even young kids, too.
“It’s great because the city is so full of life, and it’s nice to walk around and enjoy the night,” Calderon said. “It’s even stranger, however, that the teenagers go out and drink in the streets (because they don’t want to pay for drinks in the bar), then go to the clubs at around 2, and it’s completely normal for them to stay out until 5 or 6 a.m. So the nightlife I guess has been most surprising to me. It’s not necessarily strange, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.”
Being in Spain has opened further opportunities to travel for both Wildcats.
“Everything has great historical value and a whole story behind it that is so interesting to learn about,” Calderon said. “Seville is a great historical city with tons of monuments. I have been here for two and a half months now and still haven’t seen all there is to see.”