Message from the Director

Dr. Jaume Gelabert Director, Arcadia in Spain


March 19, 2015

Hola from Spain! Whether you´ve decided to become Barcelonins, Granaínos or Toledanos, I can assure you this will be an unforgettable experience!

Spain is a notoriously diverse country: it contains multiple climates, landscapes (from the desert-like scenery of Almeria to the Irish-evoking cliffs of Galicia), languages, foods, attitudes, traditions. It´s virtually impossible to travel from Seville to Barcelona, or from Granada to Santiago de Compostela and feel that you are, indeed, in the same country. I invite you to explore Spain with an open heart and to discover the marvels of one of the most attractive countries in Europe.

Barcelona, Granada and Toledo, could not be any more different from each other. Yet, these three old cities are united by a common thread: an intense zest for life. All American students and visitors who´ve spent any time here will agree that people really enjoy life, although at different speeds. What speeds are those? You´ll have to discover for yourself!

As I said, it is difficult to believe that places as diverse as Catalonia and Andalusia belong to the same country. And in fact, many Catalans argue that Catalonia is a different nation. A significant percentage of Catalans wish to secede from Spain. On November 9, 2014, an (unofficial) referendum took place in which Catalans cast a vote to express their will to become ´Europe´s next country´. Catalonia is undoubtedly one of the most industrious, innovative and creative regions of the country and fiercely attached to its identity, language, history and traditions. At the Arcadia Barcelona Center you will learn about the quest of Catalans for their independence, the origin of this aspiration and the potential outcomes, and why Catalonia sits, from a cultural standpoint, between Spain and northern Europe.

Toledo and Granada, on the other hand, are solidly set in their identity of two highly symbolic cities in the history of Spain. Toledo, a city declared by UNESCO ´World Heritage Site´ for one, enjoyed being the capital of Spain during part of the XVI century, before Madrid took over in 1561. A city of magnificent beauty, its center (within the ancient walls) evokes its dramatic past of three cultures coexisting: the Moors, Jews and Christians. The Arcadia program in Toledo at the Fundación Ortega y Gasset provides students with an amazing opportunity to study in Spanish in a full immersion environment.

But Spain is not only history and ancient walls. Southern Spain, for instance, is one of the regions in Europe with the most solar and wind panels. Spain is one of the top three countries in Europe in renewable energies, and the Arcadia Granada Center, provides you with an excellent opportunity to engage in a unique and exclusive program in Environmental Studies. Depending on your qualifications and research interests, you can also spend your summer doing research at the CEAMA, one of Spain´s leading facilities in environmental research. In addition, students may engage in Hispanic studies in English or Spanish at the CLM (Centro de Lenguas Modernas) of the University of Granada.

Wherever you are in Spain with Arcadia, we will do our best to challenge your worldviews, your culture, and adaptability by inviting you to reflect on what it means to be abroad and live for some time among people with a different culture. Our academic and co-curricular activities are designed to facilitate every opportunity for you to engage in your host environment.

As an Arcadia student in Spain, we will make sure to expose you to every rich and complex layer of your own cultural context specific to where you are and help you discover the differences between regions and cultures in Spain.

Each day presents an opportunity for exploration, self-discovery and amazement, and the whole Arcadia Spain staff is there to help you achieve your goals.

Hasta pronto!!