Spanish Majors and Minors Present Research from the Summer in Spain Program

Yesterday afternoon in the Union, Spanish majors and minors presented their research from the 2019 “Spain Today: Madrid, Pamplona, Barcelona” summer study abroad program, led by Dr. Bender, to the K-State community last night in the Union.  Over 40 people attended to chat with students about their time in Spain, vote on their favorite display, and enjoy wine, cheese, and chocolate. It was a big hit!

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Senior Spanish and Finance major Bailey Winkle (’20) kicked off the event with a short presentation on her topic exploring Spanish identity, La identidad española: Un mosaico. Bailey enrolled in Spanish 772 as part of the Spain Today program and contracted her course for honors credit. Bailey examined “nationalism(s)” in Spain, specifically in Cataluña (Barcelona) and Navarra (Pamplona) where, in addition to Spanish, most residents speak Catalan and Euskara respectively, and these languages are highly visible in public spaces alongside – or sometimes instead of – Spanish.

Bailey Winkel with her carefully selected photos depicting regional identity and language use

Students who enroll in the “Spain Today” Program have the option of taking a 700-level or a 500-level class, depending on their Spanish studies and their plan for a major or minor. Students who enroll in Spanish 772, Spain Today, must select a research topic and conduct preliminary research prior to Spain (read academic articles), then conduct research IN SPAIN in the form of interviews, site visits, tours, close documentation and analysis of cultural excursions, or participation in local events. Spanish majors have the freedom to pick a topic based on their interests or their secondary majors, and we had a great variety of projects on display, from Tourism, to Museum Narratives, to Youth Culture.

Senior Spanish and Mass Communications major Lauren Broce (’20) examined the tourism industry in Pamplona for her Spanish 772 project. She presented on bullfighting in Spain and on the famous Fiestas de San Fermin (Running of the Bulls) in Pamplona every July. She talked with her family and tourists about the effects the festivities have on the city. She creatively titled her project “El toroismo de San Fermin,” combining “toros” (bulls) and “turismo”!

Lauren shared turron, a popular Spanish candy nearly every tourist picks up for souvenirs.

Junior Spanish and Communication Sciences major Emory Mathes (’21) began by looking at “Youth Culture” and ended up designing her project like an ethnography, interviewing several different people and participating in as many “daily life activities” with her family and fellow students as she could. Her One Second Every Day video was a big hit!

Emory compares student life in Spain and Kansas

Junior Tess Sharpe, who is majoring in Spanish and Human Resource Management, learned about the methods of producing, marketing, and categorizing Spanish wines from her visit to a Spanish Bodega. In addition to the tour that all students received, Tess interviewed the guide to get answers to her research questions.

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Junior Spanish major Anna Welsh (’21), who is also an Art and Psychology major, examined the narratives presented by several of the museums she visited, including the Guggenheim (Bilbao), the Prado (Madrid), and the Reina Sofia (Madrid)

Anna explains Museum narratives

Junior Spanish major Olivia Swyers (’21) is also majoring in Pre-Nursing and planning to go on to Nursing school. She investigated issues related to mental health, especially Spanish attitudes and perceptions towards mental health care and the way they experience or don’t(!) experience stress in their daily lives.

Olivia Swyers discussing mental health care in Spain.

For the Summer in Spain Program, students also have the option to enroll in a 500-level class – Spanish 565, Spanish Civilization & Culture. This class, which is also taught on-campus in the Spring, is essentially based on the study tour itself. Students visited Art Museums and learned about history from tours and sites visited instead of reading about those elements in a book or classroom. Below, Sophomore Spanish major Karsen Adams and Junior Spanish minor Tyler Brelsford present on their experiences in Spain and on their chosen cultural topics for the Spanish 565 course.

Tyler talks with Dr. Faber about his favorite Museums and pieces of art from the trip and Gay Culture in Madrid, Barcelona, and Malaga.
Karsen Adams (below, left) wrote about the history and cultural significance of the Cathedral in Pamplona (which dates to the Roman era) and the Royal Palace in Madrid.

GREAT WORK, EVERYONE! We are grateful to everyone who attended, from Spanish majors/minors, Spanish and Modern Languages Graduate students, the Education Abroad office, Dr. Cro, Dr. Faber, and our Spanish instructor Yasmin Gavigan. GRACIAS 🙂 

The dates for the 2020 Spain Today program are May 23-June 25 – Read about the itinerary and find the application link here: Summer Study in Spain: “Spain Today: Madrid, Pamplona, Barcelona” with K-State Faculty and Students. Contact Dr. Bender for more information or questions [rmbender].


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