Students in Spain

Illinois Wesleyan students traveling in the Basque region were featured in a Spanish newspaper, along with this photo.

City People / Americans in Donostia

They came from the Ortega y Gasset Foundation and fell in love with our city

From the Diario Vasco, Feb. 14 edition
Translated by Carolyn Nadeau, Illinois Wesleyan professor of Hispanic Studies)
Read the original article in Spanish

by Joti Daz

They spent three days in our city and left delighted, promising to return. 20 students—18 women, two men—from Illinois Wesleyan University are enrolled in six months of Spanish language and culture courses at the University of the Ortega y Gasset Foundation, whose director, Juan Pablo Fusi (also Professor of History at Madrid’s Complutense University), is a native of San Sebastian.

They arrived in San Sebastian after visiting the Basque parliament in Vitoria, the town hall in Gernika and other cultural and tourist attractions of Vizcaya and Alava.

After arriving in the capital city, San Sebastian, their first surprise was a tour of and supper in the cider house Zelaia. They had a lot to say about the cider itself and the menu served there.

Thursday was dedicated to the Chillada-Leku Museum and the culinary school Ayala of Zarautz. They also took a few hours to walk from one end of San Sebastian to the other. They were impressed with the clean beaches, the bathers, in spite of the winter weather, and the beauty of the bay and new promenade. They were also taken by the amount of pedestrians, uncommon in their own hometowns.

On the morning walk they took note of the clean streets and the peacefulness they were breathing in.

The group of students was very interested in San Sebastian’s City Hall. They knew it had once been a casino and the dozen students studying art were fascinated by it. Councilman Enrique Ramos and Delegate Marisol Garmendia received them; political science students asked questions both on the political system in place at City Hall and on human rights issues. Later they had the opportunity to see a promotional video of Donostia, with images they had seen themselves and others they had not, like the “Comb of the Winds” sculpture series in Ondarreta.

According to their schedule, it was time to return to Madrid but the students managed to convince their professors, Mauricio Parra, Mara Romero and Estrella Nicols to delay their trip. For them, it was very important to see this great work of Eduardo Chillida on the Tennis Promenade.

One of the students, Pamela, enjoyed the city. “We’d heard a lot about how beautiful San Sebastan is and it is all true. I’ll remember most the promenades, the beach and the easy-going nature of its citizens. It’s like they have a different life rhythm here. The street is where you meet everyone. In our country that’s not the norm.”

Carrie was pleasantly surprised by Chillida’s work. “I had seen photos of his work, but, live, they’re fantastic! The sculptures at the Chillida-Leku Museum were great and now we get to see the “Comb of the Wind,” his most representative work. I’ve heard great things about these pieces.”

Prianka is an American whose parents are from India: “Our culture is very different, nothing like yours here. It seems that here, people interact more, live more closely together. I loved the visit to the cider house where we ate from the same platters; (it had a) great atmosphere and cider pouring ritual. I’m sure I’ll come back with my boyfriend.”