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Active Learning in Alicante, Spain

Of course the title of what we’re doing is “STUDYING Abroad”. I’ll be the first one to admit that I wish we could just nix the studying and focus on the abroad. But then I remind myself.  Everyday you’re learning. Whether you’re in the classroom, sitting at home, or walking down the street.  You’re learning.  Not to mention you get to go on little mini excursions with the program (and sometimes your classes too)
With CEA, we go on a few mini-excursions…especially at the beginning of our time here. It’s great!
We visited the MARQ one afternoon. It’s a local museum about the history of Alicante. Really nifty to see the evolution of the city, where it began to where it is now. Great afternoon trip.

OH, and we went to the neighboring town of Villa Joyosa to go on a tour of the Valor Chocolate Factory! OH MY GOODNESS! We got to see how the chocolate was made and what an impact this company and their product has on Spanish society and culture. 

And we can’t forget el Castillo de Santa Bárbara.  It’s the local fortress in town where you climb to the top and see out all over Alicante.  It is absolutely beautiful and there’s just so much history.  I’ve climbed it four times already and I just love it.  Especially at sunset.  Sooooooo pretty!!!

We went on a wine tasting adventure. We got to learn how to properly taste wine: Look, Smell, Sip.  We learned the differences between the different stages of each blanco (white), Rosado (pink), y tinto (red) wine. It was a great cultural experience. Taught in Spanish, we got to work on our Spanish skills as well as learning about the wine culture of Spain. 

With my Marketing in the European Union class we went on a tour of the factory of Alhambra Guitarras. They’re sold in over 50 countries (including the United States). We got to see how each guitar is made. All by hand. Almost two and a half months per guitar from start to finish. And the wood they get is in an outside building for a year and a half to dry out! How crazy! You just don’t see things like that back in the States. It was a really great way to see firsthand the production process of something in Spain.  It really was a hands-on way to learn about their culture and business world. 

Okay so basically you have to try really hard NOT to learn while you’re here.  Like I literally think it’s impossible. Even if you don’t do any of these things. Just riding the bus, walking through town, and sitting at home…you’re going to learn something. The whole point of being here is to learn: about yourself, about this culture, about the country, and about the world. Take advantage of what CEA, the university, your family, and the town has to offer and you’ll be golden!

Jennifer Plazek is the CEA Spring 2013 MOJO in Alicante, Spain

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