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1 posts from May 2014


My Adventures in Madrid: A Personal Impression So Far

By: S. Williams – Harvey Mudd College.

This has been an extremely long, wonderful, and exhausting few weeks in Madrid. Still, I’m feeling pretty good. Sophia 4

First, I’ll tell you guys a little bit more about my school. I only had classes at the university on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I have taken course work in Advanced Spanish language, and classes with Spanish students in Control Engineering, Integrated Circuits and Microelectronics, and History of Art. On Wednesdays, I spent the entire day at my engineering internship. So far all of my classes are going very well. Sophia 3

One of the main differences is that, unlike Mudd, homework isn’t graded. This means that I am responsible for doing all of the work by myself. I am excited about the laboratory sessions and hands-on work. My internship started off very well. I think that the company is innovative and that I have been doing some exciting work.  My final presentation for the internship course was on "Solar Energy and how it can improve the economy in Spain" Solar energy

I’ve been to a couple of places. I went to Salamanca with several other American girls from CIEE. We visited the University of Salamanca. It is one of the oldest universities in the world. Salamanca Sophia Williams

We stayed the night in a hostel in Salamanca (Revolutum Hostel, if you need a recommendation). It was very clean and modern. In our night in the city we enjoyed the night life in Salamanca. We went to a discotheque called “Camelot”. It was very medieval. There were even tapestries lining the walls… lols.  Below is a picture of Salamanca from a bridge right outside the old city center. The large building on the right is the cathedral. We went and explored inside of the cathedral and it was as humongous and beautiful as it looks from the outside. Salamanca 2

I guess I should mention the part where my computer stopped working. On Monday I got back from school and I went to turn on my computer but it was dead. It was not charging. It was broken. I was pretty sure that the battery and/or the logic board were busted. The closest Apple store was an hour train ride and 30 minute walk away from my house in Madrid. Metro map of Madrid

So I was without a computer until I could take it to the store on Saturday. After getting lost twice and walking across a freeway exit, I finally made it to the store. Then the Apple tech guy simply took my computer, plugged in his charger, and my computer magically started working again. I was furious, but happy that it was working. It turns out that Apple computers have a SMS chip that prevent it from charging when the computer experiences a sudden change in the MagSafe power adaptor.  Unfortunately, two days after the computer was fixed, the same thing happened again. I immediately went to the Apple store and they told me it was abnormal for it to happen twice in such a short time period. They fixed it and told me to come back if it happened again. Twenty minutes after I got back to my room, it stopped working again.  I have an appointment tomorrow at 7:45pm. Sophia 1

Still, I’ve managed to have a lot of fun. CIEE organized a trip to Alcala de Henares, the birth place of Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes is the author of the famous Spanish book Don Quijote. We visited Cervantes’s house and took pictures with the statues of his famous characters, Don Quijote and Sancho Panza (My friend Stephanie and I). Alcala Stephanie Do and I

Along with seeing churches, storks, and the University of Alcala, we visited the Monasterio del Corpus Christi. The nuns in the monastery live in complete isolation and are not allowed to see anyone from the outside world. However, they make and sell sweets to make money for the monastery. The way they sell these treats is the interesting part. To buy their candies you approach a lazy Susan on the wall and you greet the nuns. Lazy Susan
Then you ask for the candy and place your money on the lazy Susan. The nun on the other side will spin the lazy Susan and give you your candy and change. This is done without ever seeing the nun’s face. The candies almonds are called "almendras garrapiñadas" in Spanish. Lazy Susan 2

Then on Saturday before going to the Apple Store, I went to a Manga exhibition in Madrid with two of my American friends and three Spanish students. It was strange that my first Manga exhibition was in Spain. Manga 1
We waited in line for two hours in the rain for tickets. But I think it was worth it for the chance to finally drink bubble tea again. Manga weekend Manga 2