In July 2016, FHU students participated in the third FHU Abroad trip in Madrid since 2013. Excursions are a vital part of the immersion experience in Spain. Most of the excursions were guided tours, with one of the professors from the University of Madrid in attendance. Weekend excursions and day trips allowed for extended forays into the heart and soul of Spain. As a means of evaluation, students completed a reflective journal as part of the requirement for the immersion credit designated as SPA 367.
This group of students was very eager to experience all that they could in the time they were in Spain. Their comments on a daily basis were evidence to me that they were absorbing and analyzing a great deal about the culture and history of the setting. Some of the group saw movies in Spanish, some attended a Spanish production of “The Lion King,” and one attended a concert by the Madrid Symphony featuring a young opera singer from Valencia. All the students commented about how much their language skills had improved, how much they had learned about Spain and Spanish culture, and how much it had changed their perspectives on many levels. I was impressed by their increasing level of transparency in our devotional talks on Sunday evenings. This was not only a journey of discovery about the larger world but also one of self-discovery. It was my pleasure to have been part of their journey.