Arriving In Spain


            I am writing this on my Lufthansa flight from San Francisco to Madrid!  After a wonderful (and hectic) weekend packing, shopping, saying goodbye, weighing my suitcase, unpacking, crying, and more packing, I’m finally on my way.  It’s strange to begin an adventure that I have spent so many months preparing for.  The study abroad process was long and difficult and, I’m convinced, created by Darwin’s ghost to weed out the weaker travelers (and those who don’t have incredible, helpful parents like I do!)  After visaing, planning, studying and stressing I am finally en-route to Granada, Spain. 

            Granada means “pomegranate” en español and I am hoping that the city is as rich and flavorful as it’s namesake.  The windy, cobbled streets promise a maze of good food, flamenco music, lively bars and surprises at every turn.  I am so excited to see the famed Alhambra, relax in the Moroccan baths and sip peppermint tea, Sangria, Tinto Verano and eat (free) tapas!  Every person I have talked to leading up to the trip has told me that Granada is an eclectic, exciting mix of Arabic and Spanish, the old world and the new woven into a beautiful city. 

            My main concern, of course, is language.  I have been taking copious notes throughout the flight, refreshing my memory of subjunctive, preterit, past and future tense.  Hopefully this blog will spice it up with some Spanish as I become more and more comfortable with the language.  My first month in Granada I will be living in a dorm with 50 or so other international students as we take language intensive courses, tour the sights of the city and study the history and culture.  I am excited and nervous- this is the first adventure I have ever undertaken by myself for such a long time (I am thinking of staying in Spain for a year!)- but I know that this is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.  Everyone I talked to this summer, including the SUPER friendly workers at my bank, told me how lucky I was to be able to travel and push myself in this way.  I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and the support and means to be able to follow a life long dream of studying abroad… 

Before I ramble on and on about my dreams and aspirations, I guess I'll introduce myself.  My name is Laurel and I'm a third year Creative Writing/ Lit major, dance minor at UC Santa Cruz.  I am also an intern for Weekend Student Adventures!   As an intern I will be traveling Europe (not the worst job in the world...) researching hostels, museums, restaurants and nightclubs to add to the resources and advice on the WSA website- available free to everyone traveling or interested in traveling.  And of course blogging!  I was particularly drawn to WSA because of its stress on truly exploring the cultural aspects of a destination city by touring the more hidden neighborhoods, lesser known sights and museums that many young travelers would overlook.   This is such an exciting opportunity and I feel so lucky to be working with such a fresh, innovative company!

That's all for now but I'll keep you updated on my spanish adventures!




Cooper Cohen, University of Notre Dame

Happy Backpackers

The most fun, exciting, educational, and craziest weekend I had during my semester abroad. You definitely get the maximum bang for your buck with WSA. WSA provided me with an unbelieveable weekend in Budapest. After hearing from my friends about their amazing experiences on WSA trips, I had to see what all the hype was about. I chose to take part in a WSA weekend in Budapest, and I loved every minute of it. The guide, Bogi, was the best! WSA is the perfect blend of an educational/tourist expereince while also allowing for sites off the beaten path as well as kickass nightlife. You won't regret a trip with WSA.

Cooper Cohen, University of Notre Dame ~ University of Notre Dame, London, Spring 2015

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