Hola! My name is Julia Szafman and I'm from West Hartford, CT.  I am a music modified with Spanish major and am planning on a linguistics minor.  For my "off" term I am studying in Madrid, Spain on the Dartmouth Foreign Study Program.  I am absolutely loving my time here!  We all take three Dartmouth courses: Contemporary Spanish History, Art History, and Spanish Literature.  We are also required to take a conversation class that meets twice a week to help with our accents and to learn colloquialisms so we can blend in a little bit better. 

  I'm living with a host family that lives about five minutes from our school, which is so convenient!  On an average day we go to class in the morning, return home for lunch around 2 p.m. (lunch is the biggest meal of the day here), then take a siesta for a few hours.  Sometimes we will have class or an optional activity in the afternoon but usually we just meet up at a metro stop and take a few hours to walk around and explore.  Dinner is around 9 p.m. and often consists of a few appetizers called tapas.  It is also very common for people to meet up with friends after dinner as well; this culture is very social for people of all ages.

  Our class schedule is organized so that we have Fridays free for excursions or travel.  We've had organized group excursions to Toledo, Segovia, and Barcelona and have taken free weekends to travel to Lisbon, Portugal and to explore different neighborhoods in Madrid.  In the middle of the program we had a week free to travel around Spain and I was fortunate enough to be able to travel around the northern part of the country with some friends.  We visited San Sebastián, a popular beach town frequented by French and Australian visitors, Bilbao, the home of one of the Guggenheim modern art museums, and Pamplona, a stop on the Camino de Santigo and popular for the running of the bulls.

Next week I am going to my first Real Madrid soccer game! Here, soccer is life and the fans win and lose with the team.  I'm also planning on traveling after my program is over.  The plans are not quite defined but I'm hoping to visit Italy, Greece, and maybe even Scotland. Whatever happens I'm definitely looking forward to it!

Hasta luego! 
          Szaf