Here it is, Proctor community! The moment you've been waiting for. Proctor en Segovia Spring 2023's final hurrah, and we promise you won't be disappointed. In this final blog post, two members of the ten students who spent the term studying in Spain, Beatrice '24 and Lisle '24, have decided what better way to end our term abroad in Spain than by sharing a few words from some of the students here. We've been through ups and downs, sweat and tears, we've laughed and we've danced, and we've walked a lot. We have interviewed members of the Proctor en Segovia student group who had something to share with you -- yes, you! They will give you all the best advice and maybe even share some never-heard-before Segovia secrets, along with tips, tricks, and highlights!
Will's Tip: Explore Segovia's Hidden Gems
William L. '24 (Willy, Will), our newly elected Assistant School Leader, has scouted every inch of Segovia and discovered new restaurants, stores, and parks to hang out at. At the beginning of our trip, Willy struggled to find ways to fill his afternoons here in Spain. Having so much free time was a new experience for all of us. Luckily, with an unusual amount of independence to relax and explore during the day, we just barely managed to keep our sanity. While shopping near the Plaza Mayor, we asked Willy about his experience during our non-scheduled time in Segovia.
"In my free time during this term in Spain, I often found myself with nothing to do. I didn't want to sit in my room and just be on my phone because I can do that anywhere in the world. If I'm in Spain, I'm going to enjoy my surroundings. I often found myself walking down random streets. I would keep walking till I found something interesting. This would often lead to a place that I knew, and I would just keep searching. One route that I use a lot now is the less touristy way to get to the school. It involves climbing about 70 steps and then walking through the back alleys."
When struggling to find something to do in a new environment, simply walking around can be a great way to get to know your surroundings—you never know what you might discover! Willy's technique was a great way to get to know the real Segovia.
Caroline's Tip: Enjoy Segovia's "Zonas Verdes" (Natural Spaces)
A common theme in our group has been getting outside in the Segovian Spring weather and exploring, and Willy is a prime example. Another member of our group, Caroline S. '24, has also sought to be active and spend her afternoons outside. She took it upon herself to venture out of the city bounds and found herself at the foot of the castle with her feet nearly in a rushing river. After traveling there solo, Caroline shared her discoveries with us and other group members, which prompted routine afternoon walks.
Caroline has decided she wants to share this highlight with the larger public and for the Spain group next year. Caroline depicts our favorite afternoon walk:
"It's called the Eresma River and you just go down the stairs near the glass elevator and keep walking straight. You will stumble upon a nature walk park area along the river. There's a ton of trees and birds. If you want a slightly more challenging route or more of a hike, you can keep going until you reach the road. Then you can ascend up some small stairs until you reach a rocky mountain path."
"Though it is a beautiful walk and exercise area with ducks and even workout spots, one thing plagues this path…." Caroline goes on to describe it, "A small patch of the walk is what we call 'stank zone.' In one certain area, the most horrible smell overtakes the whole area, so beware."
In our opinion, it's a small price to pay for such an enjoyable adventure. A little secret is there is actually a peacock along the trail that you can hear making its call sometimes. And not to mention on the whole walk is the most incredible view of the castle. From the hiking trail is a unique perspective of the castle you can't see from anywhere else.
Campbell's Tip: Embrace Cultural Differences
Some other words of wisdom come from another amazing member of our group, Campbell '23. She shares some differences in her host home that she thinks would be good for other students to know. She says, "Here in Segovia, I've noticed that my host mom, Pilar, along with the other members of my family take shorter showers. To be respectful, I've made sure to not take super long showers while I'm here and modify my routine.
Also, you'll notice most people here wear slippers in their homes. In addition, she mentions, "You'll rarely see the dogs out. My host mom has slippers and home clothes she wears every day in the house. If I had to offer some advice, it would be to make sure you have some fluffy socks or small slippers to wear around your new home for two months!"
Bea and Lisle's Top Segovia Food Picks
Your esteemed writers thought we would also share some of our favorite foods, so everyone can know what to put on their must-try list. Sadly the pig ears that made Lisle sick didn't make the list—but we did spend our time journeying to as many restaurants as we could. For coffee, "cafe con leche para llevar" is a must-need between classes. Croquettes have also easily found their way to the top of the favorite foods list for everyone in the group. Every Friday, we had a group meal at Juan Bravo. Ten croquettes presented themselves before us on a plate. We all would stare at it in desire. For those who don't know what they are, we decided the best way to describe them would be delicate fried mashed potato balls. We've also had them with egg and ham inside, sometimes chorizo. Though we hunted for a superior restaurant for our favorite croquettes, Juan Bravo took the win.
Oz's Tip: Use Local Spanish Colloquialisms
To fit in like a real Segoviano, we found it is essential to know some local slang. Oz shared one of his favorites he picked up while playing fútbol with a local Segovian team. He shares:
"One of my favorite phrases is 'que barbaridad' means 'oh my god'. When you're surprised by something, when you're shocked—at any time you'd say 'oh my god', you can say 'que barbaridad' to really get your point across. A big thanks to Oz as this is some useful stuff!!
Caroline Reflects on Altético de Madrid Fútbol
When hearing about going abroad to Segovia, a common fascination is a trip to watch a Spanish fútbol game. Our group shared the same fascination and looked forward to Wednesday night for what felt like forever. Decked out in our best attempt at matching Atleti's colors (red), except for John and Oz, who were rooting for Cadiz, we embarked on our journey to spectate and yell as loud as we could at our first Spanish fútbol game. Arriving at the stadium, our first thought was to up our game a bit and purchase some merch to improve our all red look. Scarfs and noise horns immediately rescued our weak effort and we were set to enter. As hard as it was to find our seats, we arrived just in time for the game to begin. My expert spectating skills were previously limited to purely Proctor Academy soccer games, so sitting in the stands, quite close to the field with multiple famous players was quite different than sitting on the lighted turfs cement strip.
Within the first couple minutes, Madrid had already scored, which hinted the end score would be "a lot to a little," which some of the soccer fans in the group had previously suspected. Despite the many looks of confusion we received when we attempted to sing/chant along with the fans, we still proudly waved our scarves in the air, and many of us were left voiceless after the first half. The second half of the game brought the score up to 5-1, but we did get to participate in the famous "Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé" song. We left the stadium with zero voices but big smiles, which made for a relaxing bus ride back, arriving at what we are lucky enough to call home around 1:00 am to warm hugs from host parents and, for me, a cup of hot chocolate. While most of us were not the biggest fútbol fans, every one of us had an amazing time, and attending a game while you're in Spain has got to be a mandatory staple on any bucket list.
We hope you enjoyed this write up, and that future groups find it helpful. If we had to offer one final piece of advice, it would be to have an open mind. All of our favorite moments on this trip have been times when we just explored freely and stumbled upon something unexpected. The best things are unplanned, so keep an open mind and be ready for anything!
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