Spanish Studies in Madrid with Joe Radinsky ’23

19 October 2021
Joe Radinsky '23

Hi all! My name is Joe, and I’m a junior SOAN major with Spanish and GWSS minors who is currently on the Fall 2021 Carleton Spanish Studies in Madrid OCS program.

After a year of being on-campus during the pandemic, I was thrilled to hear this program was still going through. Studying abroad had always been part of my college plans because I wanted to become fluent in Spanish and I had heard great things about the Madrid program prior to applying. Now, I can echo all those wonderful things! In these first five weeks the eleven of us in the group have been to Toledo, Asturias, Valladolid, Soria, and “la España vaciada” as part of the program to learn about geographic and religious identity in Spain and the consequences of capitalism and neoliberal economic policy on each of these sites. Additionally, we’ve been able to visit Segovia, Sevilla, Granada, and the País Vasco as weekend trips and part of longer “puentes” (extended vacations). We are booked and busy, to say the least. 

This trip has been an educational journey in both formal and informal ways. Every week, program director Palmar Álvarez-Blanco has brought in guest speakers in disciplines ranging from economics to counter-publicity to performance art. We approach every topic by trying to understand the “official” version of the story as well as the “silenced” version to gain a deeper understanding of the social issues at play. Outside of the classroom, I have become more confident in my Spanish-speaking skills every day and am slowly familiarizing myself with the city of Madrid. My highlights so far have been El Rastro, a weekly market in Embajadores/La Latina that is great for second-hand clothes and artisanal jewelry, and chatting with students at the Complutense, our university during our time in Spain. I’m looking forward to tapping into the queer community in Madrid even more (the neighborhood Chueca is a standout) and to my four-week internship following the program! 

I created a photo gallery highlighting some great moments and scenic views from the trip so far. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been five weeks – I’ll continue to make the most of every moment and take beautiful pictures. Special thanks to Emmanuel Gimeno for being a wonderful presence and for taking many of these pictures, and to Palmar for being a spectacular program director and the best support system we could ask for. Enjoy the photo gallery!