Junior pitcher Constance Phelan has taken her talents overseas for the 2019 Fall Semester to study at Suffolk's Madrid campus. While stamping her academic passport, Phelan will check in with GoSuffolkRams.com from time-to-time to tell Ram Nation what she has been up to abroad.
Below is the second installment, featuring Phelan's first month abroad where she visited four cities; Madrid, Malaga, Morocco and Toledo.
I have lived in four states, eight cities, and visited countless more, but nowhere I have been begins to compare to life in Europe. Everything is different; from the food, to the culture, to the fact that it is socially acceptable to stare someone down on public transportation (in Boston not so much). Living in Spain for the past month has opened my eyes to so many new things and helped me learn so much about a different side of the world.
Being in Europe did not fully sink in until I was walking through narrow streets in Madrid where you cannot fully extend both arms without touching a wall, past little outdoor tables at cafes that looked like scenes out of a movie, and beneath beautifully constructed buildings that made me feel even smaller than I am. During our first week in Madrid, one of the professors took us on a walking tour to talk to us about the history of the city, and some of the most famous tourist spots. We passed by the Royal Palace, through the Plaza de Mayor, and into Plaza del Sol. I was amazed at the beauty of the architecture in Madrid; the buildings make you feel like you are taking a walk back in time. Along with these sites, I have had the chance to see the Prado Museum, Calle Gran Via, Parque del Retiro, and the Plaza de Toros. I think my favorite spot in Madrid so far has been the Prado Museum, specifically the works of Francisco Goya.
During my first month in Spain, I visited two Spanish cities outside of Madrid: Malaga and Toledo.
Malaga is a beach town on the south coast of Spain, and one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. While there, we explored the Alcazaba, visited the Picasso Museum, and climbed the Castle of Gibralfaro. The Alcazaba is a Moorish fortress that was built around the 11th Century. We climbed to the top, from which point you could see across the city of Malaga to where it meets the Mediterranean Sea. Malaga was full of many wonders, including beaches with crystal clear waters and mountains bordering both sides.
The other city I visited, Toledo, was like travelling back centuries in time. It was a city in which Christians, Jews, and Arabs all lived together peacefully, and it was amazing to walk through and see all their contributions. We passed by Christian churches, Arab architecture, and through the Jewish Quarter. We then took a 30-minute hike, that felt never ending, to a spot where you could see across the whole city of Toledo. To be able to see everything all together was definitely worth the hike. The city is built so close together, and while you don’t notice it while you are walking around, from up above you can see how everything was built as close as possible even though it is surrounded by so much land.
The trip I have enjoyed the most though, has been Morocco. It was so different from anywhere I have ever been, and nothing like what I imagined it would be. Our first stop was Tangier, a city only eight miles from the coast of Spain, and the center of Morocco’s tourism. While in Tangier, we experienced what it’s like to ride a camel (it’s terrifying), saw the famous Hercules Caves, and passed through the medina which is their local market. After Tangier, we traveled to Chefchaouen, also known as the “Blue City.” All the buildings in Chefchaouen are painted either blue or white, and everywhere you turn there are stray cats or dogs. The people in Morocco were some of the nicest people I had ever met, and I found it funny how everywhere we went, as soon as we spoke English, we were asked if we were from New York. I thought it was beautiful how strong the culture was in Morocco, and how proud the people were. While the movie Roman Holidaymade me want to study in Rome, Casablanca always made me want to visit Morocco, so I am glad I could at least check one classic movie setting off the list.
So far in Spain I have figured out the Metro, become accustomed to speaking Spanish, and given up my leggings and t-shirts in exchange for nicer clothing to be worn out in public. The greatest challenge I have faced however, is the food. Spanish food consists mainly of eggs, ham, and seafood. I successfully avoid most foods that contain ham or seafood, which leaves me with bland food that I would normally eat with hot sauce, although that is not a thing here. I was overjoyed when I was in Morocco and was able to eat food with different spices and more taste than the foods I have experienced so far in Spain. I feel like I am dorming in 150 Tremont again, living on French fries and bread.
Fans, families, alumni and friends can check in with what Isaak and Phelan are up to over sees by following their adventures on GoSuffolkRams.com or over social media by using the hashtag #RAMsinterNATIONal.