A Letter to the SYA Spain Class of ‘23

Meredith M. is currently a junior at SYA Spain and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Milton Academy in Massachusetts.

Dear new SYA Spain students, 

I’m not going to lie—I’m jealous. It’s hard for me to believe that soon, a brand-new set of 64 will arrive in Zaragoza and enter aula central for the first time, just as we did only 8 months ago. It is almost incomprehensible to me that I will soon have to pack up my oversized suitcases, and leave my room, my home, and my family, forever. Passing the torch off to you all, as painful as it may feel right now, is actually something infinitely special. Although we have never met, and maybe never will, we will always be connected by our sacred experiences here in Zaragoza, Spain. So, in hopes of carrying on the legacy of SYA Spain class of ‘22 (the best year yet), I am going to list all of the reasons why my class has had the best eight months of our lives. And, who knows, maybe during your time here, you all will find yourselves sharing some of these same experiences. 

  1. “Parque Grande Birthday Tradition” - Mary Louisa Donaghue, St. Andrew’s School, Austin, TX. 

Take the tranvía from Plaza España to Emperador Carlos V. Bring snacks, a speaker, and a cake from Corte Ingles - utensils are unnecessary. Find a grassy spot, lay down, and celebrate!! 

  1. “VIPS after Independent Travel” - Sarah Wiemeyer, Milton Academy, Duxbury, MA. 

Independent travel is one of the best parts of the SYA experience. But, after a weekend of trying new things, and exploring a big city, you will probably need to recuperate on Sunday afternoon. We recommend VIPS. Sure, maybe the food won’t be ready for a good two hours, and the air might be a bit stuffy, but that is part of what makes it so special. 

  1. “Paco’s Jueves Art Class” - Ashton Mota, Concord Academy, Lowell, MA. 

When the time comes to choose your extracurriculars, choose Paco!!!! Two hours of painting, with Paco’s obscure music playing in the background, is always a highlight of the week.

  1. “Carl’s Jr.” - Isabelle Ocko, Milton Academy, Boston, MA. 

We’ll admit it - choosing “Carl’s Jr.” over the many Spanish cafe’s is a weird move. But every once in a while, the unique and welcoming ambiente of this fast food chain is just what you need. Something about the bright colours and big red booths creates the perfect space to do homework. 

  1. “@fitsdesya” - Jane Seizing, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Georgia. 

An instagram account to appreciate our impeccably dressed grade. Every Friday we have 

a themed fit day. Definitely something to be passed on! 

  1. “Boba on Independencia” - Caroline Page, The Potomac School, McLean, VA.  

Nothing better than boba flavour #8 after school. 10/10 definitely recommend. Plus, there is a photo of a bunch of us hanging on the wall!! 

  1. “Just all of us being together” - Meredith Monnich, Milton Academy, Hingham, MA. 

The people at SYA are no doubt my favourite part of the experience. It’s hard to achieve the same tight-knit feeling of community in many other schools, but here, things are different. As a grade, we have all become so close, and I know that we will be friends for the rest of our lives. I am so grateful for each and every one of my classmates here in Spain. 

I know that when you all arrive in ZGZ, and it is your turn to experience SYA, you will be able to create your own list of memories and favourite places. Yet, I’m sure there will also be many similarities - a small thread of shared experiences that connect each new year of SYA to the next. I am so excited for all of you to begin this adventure, to recreate moments of past students, but with brand-new eyes and perspectives. So, my last piece of advice to you all is to trust yourselves. Don’t second-guess, don’t doubt. Just experience each moment fully and openly—because the time really does fly by.

Un Abrazo muy fuerte, 

Meredith Monnich <3

  • Campus Reporters
  • SYA Spain
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