From the lively streets of Madrid to the soaring gothic architecture of Toledo’s ancient cathedral to the breathtaking mountain views of Montserrat, K alumni, family and friends were treated to an exquisite adventure on their trip to Spain with President Jorge G. Gonzalez and his wife, Suzie (Martin) Gonzalez ’83, in May.
In all, 39 travelers, including alumni, parents of current and former students and friends of the College, embarked on the tour, which took them to some of Spain’s most famous tourist destinations. The group strolled through the streets of Seville, journeyed through the peaceful Sierra Nevada to explore the Alhambra—a hilltop palace in Granada—and experienced Spanish cuisine, including a paella lunch while floating down the canals of Valencia.
For some participants, the trip was an opportunity to travel back in time to their college study abroad. Thomas Hipple ’65 studied in Spain in 1963 and said, “For me it was one of my lifetime highlights. I wanted to revisit it, show my wife where I had studied, and to feel the cultural energy that K’s overseas programs promote. It was fun and very well-planned, down to the flamenco guitars and dancing. We especially enjoyed the shared stories and memories of our group.”
Peg Brown ’68 concurred. “I was first in Barcelona in 1967 during my K travel abroad. Now, I return with some 40 of my fellow alumni, and together we look over the city and the Roman columns and the old bull fighting ring, and it is as glorious as ever. I also wonder—how did we get so old? Yet on this trip I learned that our strong K spirits are alive and well—our intellectual strength and curiosity, our kindness and civility, have not diminished—not one iota.”
For Anora Seita ’17, the trip was an opportunity to explore the world and expand her horizons. “I’ve always wanted to travel more, and thought a group tour would be a perfect place to start,” she said. “Seeing the sights and enjoying the culture broadened my view of the world, as did hearing the perspectives of other Kalamazoo College grads. This was a trip I will always remember!”
The Spain trip is part of a strategy to provide lifelong learning opportunities to alumni of the College.
“Kalamazoo College has been committed to globalization for a long time; we’re also very committed to lifelong education,” said President Gonzalez. “These trips allow us to bring these two commitments together, allowing our alumni to continue to learn through life, and also allow them to come back and experience once again the study abroad experience.”
For the travelers who had been on other K adventures, the experience was worth repeating. “We went on the Spain trip because of our great experiences on the K Rhine River cruise and the Costa Rica and Iceland trips,” said Barbara Cook Hinz ’72, who traveled with her husband Mike. “This trip lived up to our expectations. We were able to see the main sights in Spain and enjoy the company of alumni, as well as Jorge and Suzie. The K staff on the trip made sure everything ran smoothly, which allowed us to concentrate on being tourists.”
College friend Barb Khaja agreed. “It was a rich experience beyond the travel or what joining a random tour group could provide. We are looking forward to joining K on another trip, to travel, to meet many wonderful K grads and fully experience the opportunities that K travel provided.”
If YOU would like to have the “study abroad experience” with K, get your passport ready! Next year’s tour will be announced soon. Watch the website and your email for more information.
Neuhauses Relive Spain Trip That Helped Them Fall in Love
For John ’67 and Lori (Payne) Neuhaus ’67, the Kalamazoo College trip to Spain took them back to a special time in their lives—the time when they first fell in love on study abroad in 1966. The two had never met before the group of 20 K students went to Spain, yet in the leisurely hours between classes and Spain’s late-night dinner hour, conversations were shared, a little wine was poured and friendships were formed among the group. John and Lori went on a couple of dates before their time abroad ended, and continued to see each other once they were stateside. They married the day after graduation.
John said that of the five men studying abroad, “four married women in our group.” Those couples stayed in touch over the years, with annual visits to the home of classmates John ’67 and Ellen (Webster) Goff ’67 starting in the 1980s. “For twenty years we got together in the summer and cooked Spanish food,” John said.
As for John and Lori, they went on to have two daughters; John became a book seller with local shops in Kalamazoo and then a sociology professor; Lori, who had majored in Spanish, became a high school Spanish teacher. When they retired, they had the freedom to travel, and together and separately they visited Mexico, Peru and Cuba. Yet they’d never returned to Spain until the opportunity came up through K. “We couldn’t resist the opportunity,” said John, “especially the opportunity to travel with Jorge and Suzie. On the trip, he made time to talk with everyone one-on-one, and on one of our bus rides, he made an inspiring speech about future plans for the College and opportunities for K students. It was tremendous. Later that night we had dinner in Granada and the K alums broke into the chant: Breck-ki-ki-kex! Ko-ax! Ko-ax! I’m sure the other patrons were mystified!”