This past summer I was given the amazing opportunity to study abroad and attend the University of Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain, or The Golden City. Salamanca’s buildings are mostly made of sandstone which seem to change colors from being mostly white in the day to yellow at night, which gives it its nickname “El Dorado”. At the university of Salamanca, I learned many things, however I was surprised at how much I was able to learn outside of class.
I am normally a very introverted person, therefore going to another country without knowing anyone and knowing you are the only male in the program made me quite anxious for this trip. Thankfully my worries quickly dissipated as I became good friends with everyone in my program and met a variety of different people through the classes at USAL. I was able to meet more people from different countries and age groups.
Being in a new place and meeting different people constantly made my day busy and exhausted me. However, I was not going to let anything stop me and made sure to make the most out of my first time outside of the country.
We often learn and talk about historical buildings and places but rarely does one get to see and experience their greatness in person. Thanks to this opportunity I was able to visit one of the most important historical places in Salamanca, Plaza Mayor. The Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain, is a historic and iconic square that has stood witness to centuries of cultural, social, and political events. Completed in 1729, Plaza Mayor features four grand facades, each adorned with arches, balconies, and balconets. The central portion of the square is crowned by a clock tower which was often used as a meeting point to meet up with my fellow classmates.
Among the many incredible sights that I saw were the two beautiful baroque style cathedrals which could be seen from anywhere in the city. Their intricate designs left me wondering how much time and energy went into the creation and decoration of the cathedrals. One of the most distinct memories I can recall is the first time I went to mass in the San Sebastian church. The outside of this structure had multiple intricate designs of saints and angels. You could spend hours looking at the front entrance and find something new every time. When I first walked inside, I felt like I was transported back in time. The ceilings were adorned with beautiful portraits of saints, the stained glass was beautiful and vibrant, and the center of the room lay a massive gold wall with a beautiful painting in the middle. As I looked around and took everything in, I found myself dumbfounded as to how this structure has been here for more than 400 years.
I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Rudolph family for their generous support which made this incredible journey possible. This experience has enriched my life in ways I can’t fully express. Salamanca has become not just a place on the map, but a part of my story, and I am excited to share the lessons and experiences with others.