First Full Week of Class

Trip Start Sep 01, 2013
Trip End Dec 20, 2013

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Flag of Spain  , Madrid,
Thursday, September 12, 2013

I am now done with my first full week of class here at the Instituto Franklin and about to head off to Lisbon, Portugal for the weekend! I thought I would give a quick run through of the past week before I leave, however - I know it has been several days since the last post. 

I have learned a lot this past week and have now settled into the regular school routine. It consists of getting up around 8am every morning, walking to class, taking my 2 classes per day, walking home, eating lunch (around 2:30pm), homework, and then going out to walk around the town with friends or run by myself at 5-6pm. During the evenings, I usually either watch TV in spanish with my mom or work on some homework. My spanish mother has her favorite soap opera that she watches every night, and I usually join in for that. Dinner takes place at around 10pm, and then I usually watch TV or do homework until bed time. 

 Since I am in Spain after all, the reigning world champions in soccer, I figured I needed to pick back up the sport and play while I'm here! I'm heading up a soccer team for all the Americans at the Institute. Our team of American study-abroaders will be playing the local student teams at the University of Alcalá, that are likely much more skilled than us. Some players I had sign up have never touched a soccer ball before, so these games will be fun to say the least! The good news is we will have a large crowd of American fans present at every game to cheer loud when we happen to complete a pass. Games start in October, so I will keep you updated on how that league goes. 

So far in my classes, I have been learning much about spanish history, geography, politics, and economics. These subjects will lay the groundwork for understanding more involved materials later. 

Here are some random interesting facts I have learned since arriving:

- Madrid is the highest (elevation) capital of any European country.
- Spain's flag is made of four stripes, not three. It appears to be two red stripes with a large yellow section in-between, but actually this yellow section is made up of two equally sized yellow stripes. Each as large as the red stripes. Red stands for blood and Yellow stands for Spanish land. 
- The feet of a statue in the Parque de Reterio (statue across a pond in my last post) is located at 666m above sea level and is thought to be an entrance to hell. 

- The birth rate is decreasing drastically in Spain and most of Europe. There are less young people that work combined with more old people that cannot. This is a leading factor in the recession and high unemployment levels here right now. 

That is it for now! I am off to Portugal! I will be posting plenty of pictures next week when I return! 

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