HCAYS Orientation Trip to Galicia
Almost every student dreams of the opportunity to study abroad and at Hamilton it is not only possible – it’s encouraged. Hamilton’s four programs in China, India, France and Spain are popular, not only with Hamilton students, but also with students from other small liberal arts colleges.
This past week the 20 students participating in Hamilton’s program in Madrid, Spain, traveled to Galicia. The trip began with a tour of Pazo de Gaegos, a vineyard in La Coruña, Spain, where students were treated to a traditional Spanish lunch. Following lunch, the itinerary boasted a white water kayaking trip. I’m a seasoned kayaker but I have to admit that I was intimidated at the thought of kayaking and rapids. Our guides were focused on safety and after what seemed like hours of flipping boats and losing shoes, we were ready. Happily, everyone enjoyed the experience, laughing and recounting stories all the way back to Pazo de Gaegos for a wine tasting.
The following day was spent exploring Santiago. Accompanied by two professors of art history, one from Hamilton’s program and the other from a university in Madrid, the students set out to learn more about the Mercado de Abastos, Plaza de Platerías, Plaza Quintana and the Catedral del Santiago de Compostela. The day concluded with a tour of the city from the roof of the Catedral. The view is not one we will forget for a long time.
The next stop on the itinerary was Baiona, to visit the Ría de Arousa and learn about the culture of the people living in Galicia. Many of the men in Galicia are fishermen, so naturally the day was spent on a boat learning about the different seafood the fishers harvest and how to catch it. With a night free of program activities the students were able to visit many of the heladorias, pastelerias and shops scattered along the cobblestone streets.
The final destination in Baiona was the Cíes Islands. The beaches and cliffs called out for exploration and soon, everyone was off scrambling to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings. Classes begin next week but the group feels well-prepared now that we have a much better understanding of the culture, the day-to-day and the many new friends we have made. The host families are so pleased to have us and we are all quickly settling in.
Cassidy Dennison '16 will be reporting on activities of the students in Hamilton's Academic Year in Spain this semester as she participates in the program.