First Impressions

Micaela Ferguson
September 15, 2015



It is crazy to think that I have already been here for over two weeks. But, at the same time, it also feels like I have been here for so much longer. There is a lot to love about Salamanca. My walk to the IES Center every day is packed with beautiful sites.

The first few days of orientation we talked quite a bit about the differences between Spain and the United States. One difference that I found particularly interesting was the fact that it is not customary to give tips to waiters in Spain. For this reason, the waiters are extra pushy about you ordering more. One time I was the only person at my table to order a water and not an alcoholic beverage, and the waiter would not let me live it down.

¿Sólo agua?” He kept asking me in a comical tone. But I don’t see why he was so upset about me only ordering water. Water costs almost as much as alcohol here–sometimes it’s even more expensive. Granted, it is all bottled. But I do miss the complimentary water we get in the United States.


Spain and the United States also have different approaches to meal times and sizes. Here, lunch is the most important meal of the day. It takes place around 2 pm, during siesta, and it is a time to be spent with family. There are different courses during lunch and, thanks to our host mom, everything always tastes super delicious.

Dinner, takes place at around 9pm. At first I was worried that this would be a huge change for me, but it feels similar to dinner back in the States. I think this is because the sky doesn’t get dark until around 10pm, so it is still fairly light out during dinner. Because of this, the sky looks about the same as it does back home during dinner.

Breakfast in Spain is much smaller than in the United States. It usually consists of bread and coffee. However, Jess and I opted for tea instead of coffee. At first I was a bit upset that I wouldn’t be getting the eggs and bacon that I had grown accustomed to in the dining halls, but I’ve already grown to love this simple meal.

Although there is a lot more time in between each meal, there are plenty of snacks to have in between to keep me happy. My personal favorites are churros con chocolate and sorbets.


Last weekend, we visited Segovia, Spain. Segovia is home to many famous structures, including the Aqueduct of Segovia and the Alcázar of Segovia. The Aqueduct is a giant structure built by the Romans. It's 28 meters tall (almost 92 feet) and 813 meters long (about half a mile).

The Alcázar of Segovia is a beautiful castle that was once home to Ferdinand and Isabella. This castle was also visited by Walt Disney, and it was the inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle in Disneyland. 

Overall, Segovia is a beautiful city. It has a ton of street performers, beautiful synagogues, and thin, narrow streets. We were given quite a bit of time to wander around, and I definitely fell in love with the city’s vibrant culture.

I will have more updates soon, but that's all for now!

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Micaela Ferguson

<p>My name is Micky Ferguson and I am a rising junior at Claremont McKenna College studying Government and Philosophy. I am from Pasadena, California, which, in 2014, was named the Snobbiest City in America. But I will be the first to say that the people who conducted the survey were probably just jealous because they know that we are better than them. I have a passion for photography, video production, and puns. I love taking portrait photography, but I like taking candid photos more - I think that photos tell more of a story when they aren&#39;t posed.</p>

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