Saying Goodbye

After one long and life changing month, I found that the hardest part of this whole trip was saying goodbye. Saying goodbye to endless amounts of cheap jamon and queso. Saying goodbye to all the memories and the new experiences I’ve had. Saying goodbye to the many inspiring people I’ve met and the new friends I’ve made every step of the way. But the hardest and most important goodbye was saying goodbye to the person I was before this trip… If you asked me what about this trip changed I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you. But I know that it has helped me begin to discover and understand a little about who I am as an individual and the person I want to be.

Valencia is a truly a sweet slice of heaven filled with dreamers and big opportunities. I am so fortunate and truly blessed to have discovered my love and appreciation for this city and for all the people who live there. I can say with almost 100% certainty that I will probably be back so for now hasta luego Valencia. Thank you for everything.

Culture Shock

I’ve experienced a few culture shocks since arriving to Spain, the first in which I encountered on my initial trip to Spain. As this was my first solo trip flying internationally, I was generally nervous about flying especially with the various layovers and changes in flights. But I was instantly put at ease with how nice Spaniards are. Everywhere I went, people were very friendly and willing to help if you had issues, which isn’t as common among strangers in the US. This was the same for when I landed and visited various sites. People are more willing to strike up random conversations and generally more welcoming.
Another major shock I had was just how safe the city really felt. I felt really comfortable walking from one destination to another by myself or with a friend at any hour of the day which is quite the opposite in Boston. A friend I made here told me this was because a long time ago Valencians were under strict rule with serious penalties for breaking rules so as a result Valencians adapted to living less recklessly even when the political system had changed.
But overall the thing that shocks me most about Valencia, is how relaxed of a lifestyle people lead. I noticed that here, people “work to live” rather than “live to work” which is the common work ethic in the US. As a result, people look less stressed and well rested. Although this could also just be a result of good genes and copious amounts of olive oil.

Farewell Valencia!

This trip and adventure in Valencia has opened my eyes to so many new things. I’ve learned a lot about the Valencian culture, history and even about myself. We often let our fears and desires alter how we perceive things. I have a new perspective on life and the world around me. There are so many different realities that exist.

I feel appreciative of being able to experience living in a beautiful foreign country for 5 weeks. It was hard at times having to adjust and live outside of my comfort zone. Every experience here has taught me something and I hope to bring them on my journey of life.

I’ll defiantly miss walking through the old city and being mesmerized by the street art (Graffiti). I’ll also miss Jamon y queso and vino Blanco.

until we meet again Valencia <3

Culture, Beauty, and Entertainment in Valencia.

Picture of me in front of a fountain in Plaza Del Colegio Del Patriarca.

The time spent in Valencia has been amazing. The city is filled with culture, art, history and great scenery. Throughout my experiences in Valencia, I have been able to also build new relationships, enjoy new food and drinks, and enjoy exploring majority of locations Valencia has to offer for the public.

Beautiful view of flowers and water flow on top on visible glass from under the Museo de L’Almoina.

An interesting view is the outside and inside the Museo de L’Almoina in plaça de l’Almoina in the La Seu neighborhood in Valencia. The site is next to Plaza de la Virgen, where the Cathedral of Valencia is. The place is beautiful outside, where it holds lovely flowers and a fountain like- water flow outside.

Underneath the water flow in the Museo of Archeologically feature

Inside the building, held historic rocks, sculptures, and items dating back to early days of Valencia, including original rocks, path roads, bones, and other items of interest. The building really was interesting to see and exciting to learn about one of the historic marks in Spain since the old Roman time that is shown throughout Spain. Overall, historic sites like these are not only really interesting, but also beautiful to see in person and cherish each moment as it is your last time there. I am blessed to enjoy the moments here and really hope that I can return in the future and further explore Valencia and the rest of Spain. I hope everyone in the trip enjoyed the experiences as well and future study abroad students can enjoy this experience as well. Good luck!

Fountain in Plaza del Ayuntamiento with other local and tourists enjoying the views and hot weather

Experiencing a new environment at my Internship.

University of Valencia Law building where my Internship office was being held.

My internship organization placement at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been really informational and interesting to spend time on working at during my time spent in Valencia, España. I was able to enjoy meeting my supervisors who were eager to work at the organization and work with me to discuss about the ongoing and current conflicts going on in the world today.

Office space where me and Jennifer spent time majority of our time at the Internship, featuring pictures, books, and backpack full of information and gifts for kids based on refugees.

We spent majority of the time at the location doing activities on refugees and searching up information together. I have found a lot of information on refugees that I have not of known about before, such as current refugee statistics, where the organization works and what it does to help refugees, and how it can raise awareness of the current refugee crisis. The current general opinion on refugees is mixed, and the organization works on attempting to help change those opinions and gain support for their cause.

Image of information on refugees on display at a exhibition in Valencia.

Overall, my time spent at the internship certainly helped me build professional and friendly relationships, experience Interning for the first time, especially as a foreigner, and helped me gain knowledge on the current refugee crisis. I hope in the future to return to Spain and explore more to the United Nations and the United Nations High commissioner for Refugee sites.

Walking through History

When you leave the United States and enter a city with as rich a history as Valencia you come to realize how young the US is compared to Europe in general. Walking in churches and intuitions that are far older then your home is one part awe inspiring and one part confusing. The American consciousness is comparatively much younger than most historically significant things in Valencia as such when we try to harken back to anything that can remotely relate it is still far too young.

When your eyes set upon the beauty of the art work and structure both inside and out of these old buildings you can be so overwhelmed that it can take you breath away. This happens to me multiple times since we have been here and toured important landmarks of the city.

The beauty of walking through the same halls thousands and thousands of other people over the course of centuries have walked through is so amazing. You are just one of thousands more people that will soon pass the same walk ways and experience the same things you had and wonder about the significant of the frescoes painstakingly painted centuries before. That is such an amazing concept.

The Street Art is Amazing!

There are easy ways to know the city you are in. Local landmark, important sites, shops and restaurants. But there is something special when it comes to the artwork splattered on city walls left behind like a tattoo. The beauty of the work and the message it portrays gives the viewer a look into the mindset and state of the artist and city around them.

I love seeing the Street Art of cities outside the United States. Back home you don’t see much of it, and when you do work back home they have less of a flare and excitement to them. Like they are confined into a small box of the things they can and can’t portray. While here there is a plethora of different ideas and emotions and mediums that are littered all over the city for the eye to feast on. From the unfamiliar to the Familiar keep your eyes open and you can find things you won’t expect.

It’s amazing what you can find down hidden alleyways and on the sides of old buildings. The Art work is so ingrained into the city you can even find a guide. The small figure shown below always shows up in places you least expect. Like a game of “Where’s Waldo” this figure is always. It amazing how much you can see and find in this city just on the sides of buildings alone. Even more so when you take into account that some of these works can be across from some of the older buildings of this city as a link be tween the old and the new.

CAR-Mislata, Valencia

An outside and inside view of the CAR facility in Mislata.

I have come to learn a lot about CAR-Mislata, after spending some time observing and then, even more, researching about my placement. CAR Mislata of Valencia is one of only four residential centers in Spain and does much more than just house 120 residents. They’ve turned the facility into a multi-functioning resource center as well as a safe zone for those seeking asylum/ refugee status. The main objective of this center is to provide resources that help refugees residents to integrate into Spanish society. The methodology CAR-Mislata uses for their social change of integration is by providing guidance for access into the educational, health and social systems of Spain.  There are rooms designated for language courses for learning Spanish and basic social skills, as well as a computer room for programs about vocational training and finding employment. There is a strong emphasis on Mental Health and well being as information pamphlets and counseling for residents are posted everywhere throughout the halls; they offer specialized psychological and social assistance.

Pamphlets on sexual education

Our First Friday Tour!

On Friday June 21st – it is hard to believe that we have been here for a week already! We started our day when our group of six students were given a private tour of the beautiful lush University of Valencia Botanical garden with Botanist Olga Mayoral.

Jennifer getting a photo of us getting a photo of her….in Botanical Garde

We then went to two exhibits at the Museu Valencia’ d’Etnologia led by Joan Sequi, an anthropologist who has collected and analyzed stories of everyday people. The first exhibit was “Prietas Las Filas: Vida Quotidiana I Franquisme” (Tightened Ranks: Everyday Life and Francoism.) The exhibit showed the experiences and conditions for Valencianos living under Franco’s dictatorship. One example included the way boys and girls were socialized to obey and support Franco’s vision of society. Joan supplemented this exhibit with stories and a powerful historical narrative.

UML Group with Joan Segui at Valencian Museum of Ethnography

The group then moved on to an exhibit of Fransesc Jarque, a Valencian photographer who captured every day life in Valencia and Spain for much of the Twentieth Century. Many of the powerful black and white photos capstured irony during the strict expectations for conformity to the Franco state, thereby continuing a theme of the first exhibit.


The Valencia Experience will bring a group of UMass Lowell Students to Valencia, Spain for a six-week program that combines classroom study and internship placements at local organizations. Students will be accompanied by a UMass Lowell Sociology Lecturer, Thomas Piñeros-Shields.

You can also read blogs from current and previous trips to Spain listed below or from other destinations across the globe UMass Lowell students travel to.

Current & Previous Study Abroad Trips to Spain Blogs: