Portland State University students on a month-long summer trip to Spain led by Laura Mulas were featured on the front page of the Spanish newspaper "La Opinión" in Zamora, Spain on July 12.
By B. Blanco García, La Opinión
(Front page) American students discover and investigate medieval Spain in Zamora
A group of students from Portland State, in Oregon USA, are in Zamora to tour and investigate the original places where medieval Spain developed and flourished. Their instructor Laura Mulas, whose family is from Zamora, accompanies them. They are posing in the gardens that are beside the castle; the Cathedral is in the background.
(Inside) Americans in the court of Doña Urraca
A group of university students from Portland visit the city in order to get to know first hand the important events that took place during the middle Ages in Castilla y León.
"This is the true heart of Spain," with this motto Laura Mulas, Spanish Instructor from Portland State, justifies why she organized a month-long course to study Medieval Spain this summer for PSU students that reaches many distinct corners of Castilla y León.
The students began their studies in Atapuerca, "to better understand the origin (of the Peninsula)," yesterday's stop brought them to Zamora. "This Romanesque city has greatly interested the students since we are currently studying the Middle Ages and the beginnings of the Reconquista, from the castle to the ancient walls that surround the city, everything has been enchanting," Laura Mulas emphasizes.
"This is a dream come true,” claims Laura Mulas when referring to this educational project that came to fruition this year with plans to continue. Her passion for this land is more than justified because her father, José Mulas, native of Pontejos, Zamora who, even though he has lived in the USA for more than forty years, has never forgotten his roots and has transmitted this love of Zamora to his children. " For years I have dreamed of being able to bring students here," asserts Laura. Each time she comes to Zamora to visit family she takes advantage and photographs the city and all its grandeur to share with her Spanish class.
This group of students is small since this is the first year of the course. Their ages range from 24-37. The success of this course depends on their experiences, since they will be the ones to promote the program by word of mouth.
Spanish is a language that is on the rise and each trimester this American with "zamorana" blood teaches a new group of eager students her paternal language, Spanish, which she speaks with perfection. Laura shares enthusiastically, "There are students already interested in attending next year's program." After the students finish here in Zamora they will travel on to Ávila and Segovia, in order to better understand the history of Spain. They will also visit important convents and monasteries in Salamanca.
Enthusiastic about their first trip to Zamora, the students have said they plan to visit the city again during one of their free weekends, "to be able to enjoy calmly the city and all that it has to offer. To walk the streets and return to the medieval times."
The capital (Zamora) could host students next year.
Salamanca has been the city chosen to host the students this first year so that PSU students can live with Spanish host families during their stay in Castilla y León, however, Laura Mulas is thinking about having Zamora host future students. "It is a quieter and more authentic city, as compared to Salamanca which has become very touristy." She also has compared our city to their hometown of Portland. "The two cities are not very different, even though Portland is bigger it feels very intimate and is a very active and sporty town, just like here." Besides learning about the history the students practice and perfect their Spanish by living with Spaniards. "They are already able to speak Spanish but they are here to improve their fluency and (by living with families) they will learn about traditions first hand.