Sunset in Barcelona. Photo by Moyan Brenn. Licensed Under Creative Commons (CC-By-2.0)

Barcelona and back

By Ann Culey

If a student enrolls in ID 250: Global Scholar Experience, a Spring 2017 class offered at Frederick Community College, one of the perks of this class is jetting off to Barcelona Spain over Spring Break to see the artwork of Dali, visit the architecture of Gaudi and experience the culture and cuisine of Spain. Students will also have opportunity to witness Flamenco dancing and learn about the government of Spain and its long history.

Led by Professor Laura Cordova, assistant professor of world languages, and chaperoned by Wendell Poindexter, art professor and program manager of art, the cultural exchange portion of this hybrid class will happen on location in Barcelona. ID 250 is a hybrid class, including online resources such as Blackboard and a virtual textbook. In preparation and as part of the first 9 weeks of the course there will be videos, readings, face-to-face interactions and research to get ready for the trip. Once on the trip there will be journaling, blogging, museum tours and assignments to complete. Students will complete one final presentation once back on campus.

“We will use be using Barcelona as our classroom,” said Cordova.

This Barcelona trip owes its inception to Cordova’s spring 2016 students who asked if they could “go somewhere, to travel” and use their language skills. Many locations were floated and Barcelona was chosen. The trip will be March 28, 2017 through April 3, 2017. It begins with an overnight flight from the DC area which will land just after dawn in Barcelona, the second most populous city in Spain, and the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community in Spain which sits in the northeastern panhandle of the Iberian Peninsula on the Balearic Sea. Barcelona is only 162 miles from its northern European neighbor France.

On the itinerary Cordova allows a “Free Day” on which students may want to go to the beach, the Picasso Museum or take a train ride to Gerona.

“I am in love with Barcelona,” Cordova said. “Barcelona is a fascinating city. You will see a lot of modernistic architecture.”

Professor Cordova first traveled to Barcelona 30 years ago and has been back nearly a dozen times since developing contacts and friends there. Cordova says it is quite easy to move around the city that modernized most of its subway stops and many other locations when it hosted the Olympics in 1992. 

To gauge interest in the trip there have been regular meetings complete with brownies or cookies, pizza and Coke held on campus in preparation to see who is interested in attending the class and studying abroad in Spain. The topics covered include funding, scholarships, expectations and slide shows of this colorful and visually rich city. 

The tour company who facilitates the trip has offered early registration incentives and because the trip is part of a pending class, the deadline of October 15, 2016 to provide the best incentives is rapidly approaching. 

Joanna Gannon, assistant professor of mathematics, was also in attendance at the first informational meeting to share her personal experiences of travel to Barcelona, Spain.

“I always wanted to go to Spain,” Gannon said, “and Barcelona is the best city in Spain.”

Cordova said students with global travel are able to list this on resumes and transfer paperwork to four year universities making them highly valued applicants who have been able to interact with people from other countries and cultures.

“Whenever you get a chance to experience another culture,” Gannon said, “it will enrich you for the rest of your life.”

Sabrina Dove, an FCC student in attendance at an interest presentation, said she is very interested in attending, but money is a huge factor. “I’m interested because I’m an art major,” Dove said, “and the places we would be traveling are places I’ve studied in art history class. The apartment building, the Casa Batllo′, is so beautiful. I’ve always wanted to travel, but money is always an issue.” 

Julia Moorer, the vice president of the Spanish club and Honor’s student, in attendance at every recruitment meeting is ready to travel. She has already been to Panama, Mexico, Belize, Puerto Rico and Honduras but she still wants to travel to Spain to experience a different culture first hand.

“I will be honest in saying that the cost of the Spain trip is high.” Moorer said, “The adventure will supersede the price, thus making it well worth the money.”

While some students may be concerned about not speaking in Spanish, Cordova who took a phone call entirely in Spanish and didn’t skip a beat transitioning back into English as she was interviewed in English for this story, said all the tours and instructions are given in English but of course the students will hear Spanish spoken by native Spaniards throughout the trip.

Gannon added that while she speaks Spanish many in the cosmopolitan city speak English.

Any interested student can email Professor Cordova at lcordova@frederick.edu or register for the Spring 2017 class, ID 250:Global Scholar Experience.

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