Honors Summer Snapshots: Laurel

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2016 summer routines via photos. Laurel Smeins is participating in Iowa State’s crazy popular ISU on the Mediterranean program this summer:


¡Hola amigos! Greetings from Valencia, Spain. I’m studying abroad through the ISU on Mediterranean program with 87 other Iowa Staters, and so far it’s been an incredible experience! We’ve been here for 3 weeks so far, and not going to lie I think my life may have peaked.


We live with host families for the duration of the trip, so we are fully immersed in Spanish culture – the language, traditions, and, my favorite, FOOD. Above is what I wake up to every morning. Breakfast usually consists of cafe con leche (coffee with milk), magdalenas (muffins), tostada (toast) and zumo de narajana (orange juice, which is 10000x tastier here than in the U.S. since the oranges are grown right here in Valencia).


After breakfast, my roommate (my lovely former FHP co-leader) and I take the bus to the university for class. I’m taking Spanish Civilization & Culture and Spain Today in order to finish up my Spanish minor.


Since I only have class in the morning I have the rest of my day free to explore the city. My host mom always packs me a lunch (complete with more delicious orange juice), and I’ll spend the afternoon at the beach…


…hammocking or running in El Rio (a riverbed that the city converted into miles of parks and trails)…


…trying new activities like kayaking at the City of Arts and Sciences…


…or simply wandering the streets and taking in the gorgeous architecture.


We have dinner around 9 pm each night, as Spaniards usually eat their nightly meal anytime between 8 and 10, something that definitely took some getting used to. I’m always excited to see what our host mom has prepared – the food is always amazing. Pictured is my favorite traditional Spanish food, paella, which is a dish composed mainly of rice with vegetables and/or meat in a tasty sauce.


Since we don’t have class on Fridays, our long weekends are the perfect time to travel to other cities and countries (and it’s fairly cheap as well). I visited Barcelona this past weekend, and next up is Venice, Italy!




All in all, studying abroad is an amazing experience in every way, and it strengthens not only your academic skills, but your general life skills as well. 10/10, would recommend. 🙂

One comment on “Honors Summer Snapshots: Laurel

  1. […] hard to believe a whole year has passed since I wrote my last “Summer Snapshot” blog post.  At this time last year, I was having the time of my life exploring Spain and Europe through the […]

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