Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Trip I Will Never Forget


Last week I got the opportunity of a lifetime to step into a new continent. When I heard about the opportunity I pounced at it like a tiger. I got the opportunity to go to Morocco for a whole week.

Lets start by talking about the way there. I was in a bus ride for about 20 hours until we finally made it to Fez. It was so tiring but when we finally made it to Fez it had all been worth it. My trip to Morocco was truly an eye opening experience. I learned that Arabs are really pushy businessmen, I learned that a lot of the population speaks Arabic, Spanish, and English, and I learned that Morocco was the first country to recognize the USA as a country in 1777.

The first day we got there the program took us to a place where you can buy hand-made Moroccan carpet. When we got there, we got free mint tea which was delicious and we got a demonstration of their popular carpets. After that, they pulled a classic business move, they split the group apart so that we wouldn't have a lot of bargain power. Carpets were extremely over priced, they ranged from 200 Euro to 150,000 Euro (without negotiation).

As soon as you asked, "How much is this?" they were on your case and walking you towards the register. A lot of people got ripped off that day. Some of my peers bought carpets costing more than 3,000 Euro in some cases. After the carpet place I could tell that a lot of my peers were suffering from cognitive dissonance (regret of the purchase). I was lucky enough to detach my emotions and business while a lot of my friends made purchases just because the seller looked like he needed the money, gave them a really nice story, etc. I like to think I knew better OR maybe it's just because I didn't have the money to buy something that expensive anyway. Ha!

Knowing that I didn't create a budget to buy a carpet, I decided to just play around with the businessmen and see how much I could bring prices down; I looked at it as practice for my negotiation skills. It was really hard negotiating down carpets especially because they had a lot of demand of people that were willing to buy without negotiating and all because they felt bad (even though some of the carpets had a 5000% markup). I did however manage to bring down a rug all the way down to 60 Euro from an initial 350 Euro and all thanks to my professor Michael Sudoo at DU for teaching me how to negotiate.

The carpet businessmen were in Fez by the way.

After the carpet buying frenzy, we went to the Sahara Desert for two nights. We slept in Haymas (tents) and yes it was really hot by day and freezing by nighttime. Being in the desert for two days was definitely an eye opening experience for me. I admire how people actually manage to live there in the burning weather and isolation and still remain happy. Nighttime in the desert was beautiful and peaceful, I had never seen so many stars before. The desert, however, did have some setbacks that might've ruined the time of many of my peers. A lot of my peers got sick either by drinking tap water or by eating certain foods--and lets just say that they spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Luckily, I didn't get sick =).

Meet Jerry
My favorite part of this adventure was that we got to ride camels in the Sahara. It was great crossing it out of my bucket-list. Although it was really fun, it was also painful especially for guys. The day we got to ride camels I immediately went and picked my camel and named him Jerry, he was an angry and lazy camel. When it came time to walk it wouldn't want to get up and walk haha aside from that my camel was really cool.

When the trip came to an end I was honestly pretty happy to return to Madrid and take a hot shower. We didn't shower for 2-3 days in the desert by the way so everyone was feeling a little down. We arrived in Madrid around 7AM and immediately me and my roommate raced to the shower. After the shower I took a great cozy nap and then woke up finished some homework and went to the gym. The trip was worth it and I am happy I got to experience Morocco. =D
Life is Good

Scott, Me, Juan (Left to Right)

On the Ferry headed to Morocco

Friday, November 8, 2013

Barcelona, Cataluña


Last week, I went to Barcelona with my roommate and two new friends. Micah and Jordana, they were a blast! We took the Renfe/Ave (train) there and got there in less than 3 hours, we had our own table with four seats for a great price. We went on the weekend that Real Madrid played Barcelona which is the biggest rivalry in soccer. Unfortunately, out budgets didn't allow us to go to the game, the ticket prices were ridiculous--Nose bleed seats starting at 400 Euro. We decided to go to a bar/restaurant near the stadium and watch the game there. The ambiance was great and you could hear people chanting from the stadium which made it feel like we were there, except in the exclusive box office seats (haha). 

Aside from the game, we also went to the beach and relaxed for a while. The beach was really cool because I got to see people surf waves for the first time. 

We also took a free walking tour and got to see a lot of cool art and architecture. Overall, this trip was really  fun!

Pablo Picasso's only public art

Cool Street art with Ronald McDonald

La Sagrada Familia 

La Sagrada Familia Plaque

Barca Fans really DISLIKE Real Madrid

Barcelona near a huge church

Beach with sailboats 

Haha My roommate was tired. (Roommate Guillermo-->Left and Micah-->Right)

Model status. My roommate captured this picture and I didn't even mean to pose. 

London, Great Britain

London We Meet Again!

Near the Thames River and Big Ben =)

Last weekend my roommate, my friend Crystal, and I decided to take an adventure and travel to London. London was great and full of fish and chips and beautiful European cars. I was in London about 10 months ago and I got the opportunity to go back to this beautiful city last week. Since I had already been in London and done all of the "touristy" things, I decided to do my own thing and go and explore one of my true loves--yes you guessed it, I went scoping for beautiful European cars. Initially, I did some research and found out that I didn't live too far from an affluent neighborhood so I decided to kick rocks (walk to it). When I got there all I smelled was money with a hint of fish and chips, it was the perfect combination. 

I was amazed of how affluent this neighborhood was and it all evolved around a famous mall called Harrods and other name brand stores like: Gucci, Prada, D&G, and other really OVERPRICED stores. The first 15 minutes I was there I saw more exotic cars than I have seen in Colorado in a year. I saw and heard revving engines everywhere. From Bentley's to Bugatti's I saw them all one by one. 

I literally spent around 4 hours walking around and looking for cars in this neighborhood. I said to myself, "I am not leaving until I see at least a Lamborghini Aventador and a Bugatti" and sure enough I ended up seeing them within the four hours. When I first saw the Lamborghini I was in disbelief and amazement that I just saw around $700k driving around. The Lamborghini has been my favorite car since I was 7 and I got to see and hear the beautiful engine of this beast for the first time in person! 

About an hour later I saw more than $2 million dollars driving around. I saw a black on black Bugatti Veyron! This car was unbelievable, it literally sounded like a gulf stream jet roaming the streets and I was extremely happy. And guess what! I was lucky enough to record it before it flew away. Check out the video below and you'll see what I mean. =)


Gray Bentley SuperSports

 The owner of this Bentley saw me take this picture and he waved at me. Nice guy!
Matte Gray/Black Nissan GTR looking good
Velvet Ferrari California being felt by a blonde
 This is a Ferrari California with a velvet exterior. I actually saw this same car on YouTube when I was watching car videos with my brother. I was happy when I saw this car, I've never encounter a velvet car which was a little strange.

Red Ferrari 458 Italia looking beautiful
This is a Rolls Royce Ghost, a picture that I will never forget. This was one of the first beautiful cars that I saw in London so I followed it for a little and it came to a stop. Once I caught up to the Ghost I started capturing pictures and after a few snapshots the owner came out of the car and fueled me with inspiration. When he first got out of the car I thought he was going to be mad at me and make me delete the pictures but instead he told me, "take as many pictures and video clips as you want, this is a free country". After sharing my dreams and where I come from with him, he told me that I have a good head on my shoulders and then, he told me, "Make sure you continue exploring the world, and working hard and one day you will have a car better than this!". I was speechless and fueled. He later drove off and I continued walking looking for cars for about another hour or two thinking of what he told me. Then just before I made my last cycle around the neighborhood I heard a honk and saw him waving goodbye to me. I then left really pumped back to my hostel. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Paradise of San Sebastian

San Sebastian AKA Donostia

First of all let me start by saying that San Sebastian was essentially paradise. San Sebastian is located in the Northern part of Spain near the Spain-France border and because it is near the Pyrenees Mountains it is very green and fresh. Compared to Madrid the air quality in San Sebastian was like the smell of fresh mountain Febreze =). 

When I first arrived to San Sebastian's beach I immediately said I was going to go in for a swim or more like a stand (I don't know how to swim). This was my first time in the ocean and let me tell you, it is very very salty...and even saltier if you don't know how to swim. Even though, I felt like I was drinking/tasting a very salty drink I had a blast! San Sebastian has been my favorite trip so far. 

On the days that I didn't feel like tasting salt I would relax and watch the sunset and listen to my music. It was a very relaxing experience and I vowed that one day I will bring my family along to relax here with me. =)

Me trying to look candid at the beach :)
Overall, San Sebastian was an amazing trip full of new and amazing experiences and like I mentioned above I will bring my family to share this rejuvenating experience one day. Mark my words.

Inspiring quote of the trip:
"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."-Jawaharial Nehru

Monday, September 30, 2013

Stuff just got real

Stuff Just Got Real

At Parque del Retiro with my new friends
Hey everyone! So I started school two weeks ago and I can tell you that school here is more difficult than I expected. I am assigned homework everyday and I cannot miss any days of school unless I have a doctors note...So yes! Pretty strict school. Looking at the bright side, I will continue to work hard and not slack off and be ready for school when I get back home.

I am starting the accounting core at DU this winter quarter and I've heard it is extremely difficult and that 58% of the students that take on the challenge drop out of accounting. I really hope that I enjoy accounting and not end up dropping...I will be part of the graduating accounting class!

Now that school has started I feel like I am now a resident of Spain. I no longer feel like a tourist. I don't go out as much any more and I actually have to keep up with my studies.

I am taking a full course load this semester; I am taking: International Management, International Relations, International Business, and España Diversa which is essentially a class taught in Spanish about the history of Spain. So far, I am enjoying my classes and I am very amazed on how smart my colleagues and professors are. They truly inspire me to continue to learn as much as I can.

Aside from school, I like to take walks around the park with my friends and go to the gym. We go to El Parque del Retiro which is like Central Park in New York (Never been to NY but my friends claim it's a replica). At the park they also have a huge lake where you can rent a little boat and paddle around--it is very romantic! Too bad I don't have a girlfriend haha.

Anyway, the past couple of weeks have been very fun and full of adventures. Hopefully my remaining months here in Madrid are as fun and eventful as my first month. =)

Just hanging out at a castle in Segovia where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain lived.
Fun fact: They funded Christopher Columbus' voyage to America

Thursday, September 19, 2013

La Villa de Madrid
La Bandera de España-Spain's Flag 

Parque del Retiro

-"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."-Saint Augustine


My name is Jesus Hernandez and I am a Junior at the University of Denver--Class of 2015 Wooooo! So... after getting inspired and fueled from a couple of friends, I decided to create a blog to record my study abroad journey and to hopefully inspire more under-resourced students like me to study abroad. 

When I started college a lot of my friends would ask me, "Where are you going to study abroad?" and "What year are you thinking of going?" Immediately, I felt that I had to study abroad...I then went to the study abroad office at my school and started researching and eventually I got into Antonio de Nebrija University in Madrid, España. 

After I was accepted into the program, I was so excited and ready to learn, but now I needed to find a way to fund my experience and dream. My plan was to find an internship for the summer and apply for a lot of scholarships. While I was applying for scholarships, I came up with an idea that I will create a video, a blurb book, and a presentation to inspire more under-resourced students like me to study abroad and to make their study abroad dreams a reality.

So hopefully I can persuade you and inspire you to study abroad. If I did it, you can easily do it too! =)

Picture day

Random Picture day!!!

Beautiful architecture

Fighter Jet near San Cristobal Industrial (In the middle of nowhere!)
Photobombed by my friend Crystal at Parque del Retiro

Huge Nutella jars! Yumm!!!

Crystal and my cool roommate Guillermo being conceited!
Chicken Fries from Burger King are not discontinued here =D

For all of my fútbol fans, here is the Real Madrid Stadium

Remember that Life is Beautiful!!

Hanging out with Batman...No Big Deal!