Honors Students Spend Spring Break in Spain

A Message from Stacey Johnson, President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Valencia College Honors students will always remember spring break 2018 — especially since they walked 71 miles and visited four cities in Spain over the 10-day break. Professor of Reading and Faculty Honors Coordinator Jane Maguire and East Campus Dean of Academic Affairs Michelle Foster traveled with 15 students, who started their journey on Friday, March 9, 2018, and returned on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

First, the group stopped in Barcelona, Spain, where they visited the Plaça de Catalunya, the Palau Nacional, Park Güell and the La Sagrada Basilica. The second stop included Tarragona, Spain, a port city located in northeast Spain on the Costa Daurada by the Mediterranean Sea. Students visited ancient roman ruins (founded before the fifth century), including the Amfiteatre Roma, a second century arena facing the Mediterranean Sea and the Tarragona Cathedral. The third stop was to Valencia, Spain. This port city lies on the southeastern coast of Spain and is well known as the “City of Arts and Sciences.”

Students visited the University of Valencia, the L’Oceanografic, which is a futuristic oceanarium, the Mercado Central, and were even able to experience the Las Fallas Festival of Fire – a five-day celebration involving art and fire.

From Valencia, the group traveled by high-speed bullet train to Madrid. The Alta Velocidad Española train traveled at speeds over 190 mph, and allowed the students to see much of Spain’s countryside.

Once in Madrid, which is the capital of Spain, the students were busy visiting the Prado Museum, Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Market of San Miguel and Valle de los Cados (Valley of the Fallen). The students watched a traditional Flamenco show and feasted on Churros at Chocolatería San Ginés.

“Our Honors study abroad trip included a service-learning project organized by the Study Abroad Association,” Jane said. “Students designed ‘donation drop-off boxes’ for hostels throughout Spain under the GiveBackPackers program (GBP). Future visitors will be encouraged to leave their ‘extras’ [such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, shoes and down vests that don’t fit in their suitcases] for refugees [in the drop-off boxes]. The idea is to have a social impact on places Valencia students visit, giving these students the ability to stay connected with GBP when they share the outcomes of their project. The upcoming study abroad trip to Greece will be involved with this project as well in order to create a sustainable stream with Valencia as the first college to participate in this newly developed program.”

Before disembarking, Jane left a down vest and her waterproof, hiking Sketchers and toiletries. Michelle donated some clothing, non-perishable food and toiletry items.

Michelle noted, “This was a wonderful trip to experience with some of Valencia College’s finest students. We had a great trip and made great memories.”

1 Comment

  • Edie Gaythwaite said:

    Jane and Michelle,
    Sounds like a great learning experience with an equally wonderful service learning project, GiveBackPackers. May your trip to Greece go as well!

    AMFri, 04 May 2018 07:01:53 +0000Fri, 04 May 2018 07:01:53 +0000am18,7:01 am

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