Everywhere you turn, you hear cheers and greetings of strangers wearing red polos and khaki shorts. Why are they so happy at 9 in the morning? Your mind races as you sign in at registration, gazing up at J&H in both fear and excitement. Sound familiar? New Student Orientation is an experience almost all Temple students share. The Temple Spain program has its own week-long Orientation Program in Madrid before moving north to Oviedo, our permanent home for the next 3 weeks. One major benefit of the week was the chance to spend time with our classmates and professors. Upon arriving in Oviedo, we are placed in separate homestays, which limits our interaction with other students. Having the chance to make friends and meet everyone in the program made it much easier to meet up once we were positioned all over the city, and walking into the first day of class already knowing all of the Temple students made the transition to life in Oviedo much easier. Another benefit from this week was the exposure to the Spanish language and customs. Having the opportunity to practice speaking Spanish in a carefree environment gave me more confidence when speaking to my host mom (who speaks no English) and having a week to adjust to the Spanish eating routine, which involves a late lunch around 3 PM followed by dinner around 10 PM, was extremely helpful, as well.
All in all, I was so glad we had this week of Orientation in Madrid, and I can bet that the vast majority of my classmates would agree. All this talk about Orientation has got me thinking about my own Freshman Orientation back at Main Campus. As we spent the week touring the major sites of Spain’s capital city, I started wondering what a typical Orientation tour would be like if it took place in Madrid. Where would you go to study, to hangout with friends, to exercise? Let’s find out…
Tuttleman Library = City of Ávila
As incoming students, constantly sharing your space with others in college is hard–I get that. Sometimes you just need some privacy to think and study. Whenever you need an escape from the hustle and bustle of campus life, head on over to Avila. Equipped with massive stonewalls that fortify the perimeter; the city was prepared to handle attacks from enemy forces. This isolation means that there’s no way anyone will interrupt you as you cram for Midterms.
Pearson McGonigle Fitness Center = Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas (Bull Fighting Ring)
Do you we have any student athletes in the group? Perfect, not far from the Hotel Europa is the breathtaking Bull Fighting Ring. The tradition of bullfights is a major part of the region’s culture, though our tour guide explained that about 20% of Spanish citizens love the tradition, 20% hate it, and 60% don’t have a strong preference. Whether or not you agree with the continuation of the spectacle, you are definitely in for an action-packed experience if you attend a fight. Also, for those of you worried about the Freshman 15, don’t sweat it (pun intended). You’re in luck because in Spain, everyday is leg day. Europeans walk everywhere, all the time. No need for IBC because those cobblestone streets provide an intense workout wherever you are headed.
Beury Beach = The City of Toledo
It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and you want someplace to relax with friends. The city of Toledo, with its stunning natural landscapes, provides a perfect meeting spot to appreciate the great outdoors. No matter your grade, major, or background, all are welcome. In fact, Toledo is known for being a city where 3 religions–Christians, Muslims, and Jews–coexisted peacefully for ages.
Tyler School of Art = El Prado
Whether you’re a Tyler student hoping to be inspired, or simply want to marvel in the presence of master paintings, El Prado definitely does not disappoint. Located in Madrid, the museum houses works of Spain’s most famous artists, Griego, Velazquez, and Goya, along with countless other masterpieces.
I think we can all agree that the Spain Orientation program gives a very literal meaning to the familiar chant you hear at Temple orientation: “fly in, fly out.” After a week full of excursions and exploration, everyone felt prepared and excited to embark on the next chapter of our adventure: Oviedo.